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Presenting “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field”, April 23 – May 2

with Opening Night special event, “A Conversation with Mac Wellman and David Lang”

The University of Texas Department of Theatre and Dance presents The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, an inventive blend of opera and theatre by, David Lang and Mac Wellman, April 23 – May 2, 2010, at the B. Iden Payne Theatre.

Based on Ambrose Bierce's 500-word story of the same name, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field recounts the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy Alabama planter and slave owner, (Mr. Williamson), who drops from sight one sunny afternoon in the brief moment that his assembled friends, family, and slaves turn away. Because Williamson has no male heir and has left no will, a court must decide his fate in order to divide his estate.

Photo by J Elissa Marshall

Under the stage direction of Luke Leonard, M.F.A. in Directing candidate, and musical director/conductor Lyn Koenning, Musical Theatre faculty, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field will expose audiences to a performance that resists categorization. Hauntingly beautiful choral verses accompanied by a live string quartet and engaging character movement combine with a powerful story to create this drama fit for those with tastes ranging from classical to contemporary.

Photo by J Elissa Marshall

About the Creators of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field

David Lang is one of America's most performed and honored composers with a list of awards including the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music for The Little Match Girl Passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Lang is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music festival, Bang on a Can.

Mac Welllman is an American playwright, author and poet known for his experimental work in theater. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, McNight and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1990 he received an Obie award for Best New American Play for Bad Penny, Terminal Hip, and Crowbar followed by a second Obie in 1991 for Sincerity Forever. He has received a Lila Wallace-Readers' Digest Writers Award, and most recently the 2003 Obie award for Lifetime Achievement as well as a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts that same year. Wellman is a co-founder of The Flea Theater in New York City.

All are invited to attend two very special events on Opening Night, April 23rd:

A Conversation with Mac Wellman and David Lang
An intimate pre-performance talk with the creators of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. Refreshments will be served.
6:45 p.m. in Winship 2.112, space is limited
Opening Night Reception
Meet with the cast, crew and director of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field while enjoying an assortment of light snacks and desserts. The reception immediately follows the performance and will be held in the Winship Atrium.

Dates: April 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 & May 1 at 8:00 PM, April 25 & May 1, 2 at 2:00 PM
Venue: B. Iden Payne Theatre, Winship Drama Building, 23rd and San Jacinto on UT campus
Tickets: $20 general public, $17 UT faculty/staff and $15 students, available at, (512) 477-6060, and at the door (cash only).