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Exploring Connections in "This Random World"

U of I Presents One-Night-Only Benefit Performance of "This Random World" Before it Travels to Colorado for Regional Theatre Festival.

Professor David Lee-Painter and the cast and crew of “This Random World” have been invited to remount and present the show at Region VII of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in February at Fort Collins, Colorado. This is a great honor and recognition of the very talented group of faculty and students that brought the play to life.

Theatre Arts will host a benefit performance of “This Random World” at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 25 at the Hartung Theater and invite you to experience this one-time only special performance before it travels to Colorado. We need to raise funds to cover the cost of taking our show on the road, so admission will be by donation. Traveling to KCACTF increases the visibility of the University of Idaho to prospective students and colleagues at peer institutions.

Please join us for this special occasion. You can RSVP by calling Theatre Arts at 208-885-6465 or email us at Doors will open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Fast and Funny and Heart-warming

Written by the prolific Steven Dietz and directed by University of Idaho Professor David Lee-Painter and theatre alumnus Daniel Haley ’06, “This Random World” is a fast and funny story of coincidence and human foibles.

The cast includes Forrest Sears, an emeritus professor of U of I Theatre Arts. 

“The universe gave us this opportunity to honor him,” Lee-Painter said. “Sears had a big hand in my being here.”

Sears was Lee-Painter’s mentor and brought dramatic development to U of I’s Theatre Arts Department – from helping to create a strong bond with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival through the Rex Rabold Fellowship to robust involvement in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

“His productions were always so strong – his ‘Incident at Vichy,’ ‘Marvin’s Room’ and ‘Tartuffe’ among others, set the standard for truth onstage that has become a hallmark of the work done — and the values held - by our acting program since his arrival,” Lee-Painter said.

By inviting Sears and other guest artists with U of I connections into the play, the rehearsal process is maximized as an educational experience allowing students to experience different approaches to theater craft.

A Unique Blend of Experience and Enthusiasm

Among the other participating Theatre Arts alumni are Haley as co-director, Ariana Burns ’09, ’12, as dramaturg, and Nancy Lee-Painter ’01, playing the role of Scottie Ward. Nancy was an MFA student under Sears’ tutelage.

“I love all those connections. It provides rich soil for a production to grow in,” David Lee-Painter said. “That mix of experience from our alumni and enthusiasm from our current students together is really rich.”

Sears and the other alumni join more than 30 cast and crew from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, so their influence has substantial reach.

Taylor Telford, a freshman from Hailey in her inaugural U of I production, went into rehearsals not knowing anyone, but that didn’t last long.

“We were able to break down barriers very quickly through team building and trust exercises,” Telford said. “I’ve never done anything like that before.”

And, coincidently, Telford wanted to come to the University of Idaho thanks to a campus visit to see “A Christmas Carol” which starred Haley. The visit was arranged by her high school drama teacher, Karl Nordstrom ’06, who studied under Lee-Painter, the play’s director.

“It was so inspiring,” she said. “The puppetry and all made me see what’s possible.”

Senior Katy Sokol from Yakima, Washington, portrays “Claire” in “Random World,” a character in her mid-20s who is a little lost.

“She navigates through emotional peaks and valleys and she tries to connect with others and herself,” Sokol said.

She describes “Random World” as raw and humorous, mundane and absurd but in a realm you can relate to.

“It has a lot of universal truth,” Sokol said.

Article by Kelly O'Neill, Department of Theatre Arts
Updated in December, 2019.

Special Benefit Performance

  • 7:30 p.m., January 25, 2020


The Hartung Theater
625 Stadium Drive, Moscow


  • Admission is by donation.
  • Available at the door 30 minutes before curtain or by phone at 208-885-6465


Parking is free on the street and in the lot across from the theater.

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119