Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In the Wings: Tuesdays with Morrie. Meet Sidney Pellissier.

Sidney Pellissier plays Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays with Morrie, the second show in the 2010-2011 MainStage Season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The script is by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on Albom's book of the same name. Tuesdays with Morrie is directed by Thea Strand.

Question: What made you want to be a part of this play?
S.P.: Thea had asked me to design the set for her play before I even knew what it was going to be. Once I got the script and sat down to read the show, it occurred to me that the role was the perfect match for what I could bring to it. It was the right age, the right background. Morrie Schwartz was a retired professor and he was a challenging professor. He was known as someone who wanted people to think for themselves, and that was one of my goals as a teacher and professor. I have been an actor throughout my life but lately have been doing more directing and designing. When I read this play, though, I thought I had to have a crack at this.

Q: What is unusual about your character?
S.P.: What is unusual is that Morrie views his own demise as an intellectual project and he uses it as an opportunity to teach. When he heard the verdict, or diagnosis, that he was dying, he had to make a decision about whether to withdraw from life or whether to live. He said it was an active choice to live life fully as long as he could. The thing about this play and this character that appeals to me to very much is that it confronts the inevitable in a way that is both humane and mindful.

Q: What would you like audience members to take away from the experience of seeing Tuesdays with Morrie?
S.P.: I'd like the audience members to leave with a better sense of self-knowledge. It's not about me. It's not even really about Morrie Schwartz. It's about taking on life. You take it in the chops sometimes and you have the option to say, "What can I do next?" It's about coping. I will be very surprised if the audiences do not both laugh and cry. I'd like them to leave saying, "I enjoyed this play and I now have another way of looking at myself."

Tuesdays with Morrie will open Friday, November 5 and run three consecutive weekends through Sunday, November 21 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre at the corner of 5th Street and North Street in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.; the Sunday afternoon performances will begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for youth age 18 and under.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, call Civic Theatre's office at 765-423-7529 or visit Civic Theatre's website.

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