Jewell Theatre Company at William Jewell College presents a U.S. premiere with its main stage production of Francis Warner’s “Living Creation” at 7 p.m. April 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 14 in Peters Theater, located inside Brown Hall on the campus in Liberty, Mo. Tickets are priced at $8, or $5 for seniors, students or members of the William Jewell community. For more information, contact the box office at 816-415-7590, or email theatre AT william.jewell DOT edu. You can also visit the Theatre Department’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JewellTheatreCo
“Living Creation” is Francis Warner’s tenth play. It tells the story of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s dominance over Florence, of his patronage of the poets and artists, and particularly of his relationship with the Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, whose life unifies the action. It covers the death first of Lorenzo’s brother, then of Lorenzo himself, set against the background of religious and political reformer Girolamo Savonarola’s rise to power, fall and execution. The playwright is scheduled to be present for the premiere and a talk-back event with audiences is planned.
“The play focuses on Florence, Italy, during the golden age of Lorenzo de’ Medici,” said Dr. Kim Harris, professor of theatre at William Jewell and director of the play. “The black plague is at the door, there is political intrigue with the Vatican, and women become pawns in the men’s games. The action moves from a spring-like atmosphere in act one to a winter atmosphere in act two before giving hints of a thaw at the conclusion. The language is highly poetic, and the piece is steeped in history, literature, political intrigue and art.”
“Living Creation” marks Dr. Harris’ final production at William Jewell, where he joined the faculty in 1979. He received his B.A. from Carson-Newman College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.
Francis Warner, D.Litt, is the Lord White Fellow (now Emeritus Fellow) and tutor in English Literature at St. Peter’s College, Oxford. He was elected Pro-Proctor of Oxford University for the third time in 1999. On his retirement at the end of that year, St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge (his old undergraduate college) elected him to a Residential Honorary Fellowship for life, following the example of King’s College electing E.M. Forster, and Christ Church electing W.H. Auden. Born in Yorkshire in 1937, he spent the years during World War II in Epsom, Surrey, where his father was a parish priest. His “Requiem on World War II,” set to music by David Goode, is scheduled to premiere at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 2013. He was the last student of “Chronicles of Narnia” author C.S. Lewis.
Warner was the founder of the Oxford Overseas Study Course, which provided students from William Jewell and other American colleges with the opportunity to pursue tutorial studies in the university communities of Oxford. He is scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate degree from William Jewell during the college’s weekly chapel service at 10:15 a.m. April 11 in John Gano Memorial Chapel.