$10 General Admission
$8 UI Faculty/staff, WSU students, seniors
UI Students Free
(with a valid Vandal card)
*Tickets can be purchased online, by calling the UI Kibbie Dome Ticket Office at (208) 885-7212 or at the door.
*There is a $5 service fee for online and phone orders.
Photo: Playwright Sandra Hosking.
Contact & Location
by Sandra Hosking
Oct. 3 - 5, 10 -12 at 7:30 p.m. & Oct. 6 & 13 at 2 p.m.
UI Hartung Theater
The culture of the modern business office has been a steady source of material in movies and television for decades. However, in Sandra Hosking’s play “Ordinary Times” audience members are going to get a much different view into the corporate cubicles and the characters who inhabit them.
Not wanting to divulge too many secrets, Hosking says the play is a drama with humor in three scenes. It follows the main character “Aleah,” who after a harrowing experience at work is catapulted into the 14th century world of Geoffrey Chaucer’s "The Canterbury Tales" and a journey of self-discovery. An improbably scenario to be sure, but for Hosking, it’s a setting and style she is very familiar with.
“The play began as an office satire because I have worked in a corporate environment for many years and know a lot about the quirks of the cubicle culture. But, as with almost all of my work, it took a surreal turn and I had to follow the characters on their journeys.”
With numerous plays to her credit as the resident playwright and dramaturge at Stage Left Theater in Spokane, Washington, Hosking wrote “Ordinary Times” as part of her own journey in pursuit of a MFA degree in Dramatic Writing – which she is completing as a University of Idaho distance learning program. She says that the program has allowed her to pursue her “true passion.”
“I love writing for the stage and watching my characters come to life. I've been writing plays seriously for the past 18 years, and I enrolled in the program because I wanted to further hone my craft. . . . The distance-learning option has allowed me to pursue a degree in playwriting, which I would not have been able to do otherwise due to work and family obligations. UI is also very affordable. So it's been an absolute blessing.”
UI professor Robert Caisely, who is head of the Dramatic Writing program says that Hosking is a perfect example of the type of student benefiting from the unique program which provides early-midcareer professionals with the ability to continue their graduate education and secure a terminal degree in theatre without having to uproot themselves.
“Past students have been artistic directors, literary managers and dramaturgs already working in Equity theatres around the country, but we’ve also had journalists and academics enter the program,” adds Caisley. “It’s an exciting model that we believe is going to transform, in remarkable ways, the way we deliver the content of a playwriting, new play development, dramaturgy and even directing courses.”
“Ordinary Times” is a result of that developmental process.
“It’s been remarkable to see how Sandy’s play has developed from what was once just a germ of an idea for a play. Sandy has also been in close contact with myself and the director of the production, Jef Petersen, as his “tests” the text in rehearsal. The actors have been getting newly revised and restructured scenes, and the whole thing has been unfolding wonderfully.”
Hosking agrees that the process has been challenging and rewarding.
“I've had several conversations with director Jef Peterson and professor Rob Caisley. I have made some revisions based on our conversations and things that came up during rehearsals. I feel the play is in great hands with Jef and the actors, so I'm looking forward to seeing what they and the technical staff have created.”
Ultimately Caisely says that is part of the excitement and educational benefit of presenting new work.
“The process is liquid. . . . The writer is still learning how the play functions under performance conditions. Participating in the early developmental life of a play provides us with a marvelous educational opportunity - not only for our playwriting students, but also our student directors, designers and actors - who come to appreciate, at an almost biological level, the complicated relationship between a play text and its performance. There is nothing quite like the experience of working on a new play to truly understand how theatre functions.”