CORVALLIS - One of the most interesting plays from the repertoire of one of America's most gifted playwrights will open this Jan. 28 at Oregon State University.

OSU's University Theatre will present "Camino Real" by Tennessee Williams, a play that Williams and others have said is the playwright's most challenging and ambitious work. It's also an ambitious undertaking for a university theater program. The play has an enormous cast - 42 actors, some playing multiple roles - as well as some very complex staging and imagery.

"Camino Real" depicts the dream of mythical hero Don Quixote, who envisions the adventures of historical and mythical figures trying to escape from the ending point of the Camino Real, a "royal road" running from California to Central America. Set in an unnamed police state, the characters struggle to distinguish imagination from reality.

Performances are scheduled Jan. 28-30 and Feb. 4-6 at OSU's Withycombe Hall theater, located at 30th Street and Campus Way. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $7 for general admission, $5 for seniors and $4 for students. They may be reserved by calling 737-2784 beginning Jan. 25.

The performance on Friday, Feb. 5, will be signed for the hearing impaired, and have a narrative description for the visually impaired.

It has been 28 years since OSU has performed "Camino Real," according to director Marion O. Rossi. The play presents a powerful and sometimes perplexing experience of the Camino Real by presenting it as a journey along 16 blocks.

"The end of the Camino Real is a place that is both everywhere and nowhere, a mixture of past and present, of the real and the fantastic," Rossi said. "The play is filled with suggestive, yet sometimes opaque imagery. Romantics, misfits and dreamers suffer at the hands of a generally unfeeling and unaware society."

Among the many characters are Jacques Casanova, portrayed by Steve Massott; Marguerite Gautier (Vreneli Farber); Lord Byron (Ryan Manderfeld); and the American hero, Kilroy (Rudi Rose).

The artistic staff includes Marie Chesley, costume designer; Richard George, scene and lighting designer; and Rossi, director. Stage manager is Jeff Weston, an OSU senior.

The cast and crew of "Camino Real" follows:


  • ALBANY: Alan Edwards, a senior in speech communication, as the bum in the window; Patty Layman, an OSU staff member, as Prudence.


  • BEAVERTON: Haven Chance, a sophomore with an undeclared major, as a street cleaner.


  • CORVALLIS: Michael Crowe, a senior in biology, as Lobo and a pilot; Vreneli Farber, an OSU faculty member, as Marguerite; Dan Fisher, a senior in forest recreation, as Lord Mulligan; Evelyn Gunardi, a senior in economics, as a passenger; Steve Harvey, a junior in business, as Gutman; Steve Massott, an OSU faculty member, as Casanova; Peggy Ringle, a junior in theater arts, as La Madrecita; Jen Waters, a junior in theater arts, as a gypsy.


  • COTTAGE GROVE: Nick King, a junior in zoology, as the "Grotesque Mummer."


  • EAGLE POINT: Alecia Bluhm, a junior in home economics and education, as a woman at the market; Angela Bluhm, a senior in horticulture, as Rosita.


  • EUGENE: Monte Ludington, a junior in business, as a loan shark.


  • HILLSBORO: Marr Byrd, a senior in theater arts, as "The Dreamer."


  • JUNCTION CITY: Tana Phifer, a freshman with an undeclared major, as Eva.


  • MONMOUTH: Tyler Creelan, a freshman in biochemistry, as a survivor and a navigator.


  • MONROE: Aerin Holman, a freshman in apparel design, as a guest.


  • NEWPORT: Megan Berg, a sophomore in psychology, as a passenger and a guest.


  • OREGON CITY: Andrew Kim, a junior in finance and marketing, as a second officer.


  • PENDLETON: Ben Burnett, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, as a first officer.


  • PORTLAND: Amy Binder, a senior in history, as Lady Mulligan; Justin Lundy, a senior in computer engineering, as Baron de Charlus; J.J. Shurtleff, a sophomore in theater arts, as a student and a guest; Jeff Weston, a senior in computer science, stage manager; Elizabeth Willis, a junior in theater arts, as Esmeralda.


  • RAINIER: Jill Heade, a senior in animal science, as a vendor.


  • ROGUE RIVER: David Krebs, a freshman in speech communication, as a street cleaner.


  • SELMA: Adam Goodrich, a senior in theater arts, as A. Ratt.


  • SHERWOOD: Ryan Manderfeld, a senior in theater arts, as Lord Byron.


  • WEST LINN: Rob Johnson, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, as Abdullah; Beth Martin, a freshman in elementary education, as Olympe.





    SAN JOSE: Casey Camors, a sophomore in English, as a student and a vendor.



    MAUI: Melissa McKay, a junior in human development, as an assistant instructor.

    TAILUA: Stephen Sasa, a junior in music, as a waiter and an instructor.



    CHICAGO: Nick Levine, a senior in theater arts, as Don Quixote.



    SEATTLE: David Radford, a senior in media communication, as Sancho and Nursie.

    YELM: Daniece Witt, a sophomore in animal science, as the second woman at the market.



    BRISTOL: Jennifer Backstrand, a senior in theater arts, as a guest.





    Rudi Rose, a senior in film studies, as Kilroy.



    SEOUL: Ji-Yeon Kyung, a junior in speech communication, as a passenger.



    ANKARA: Setenay Yener, a sophomore in animal science, as a vendor.

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Marion Rossi, 541-737-2853