Meadow Brook Theatre, Michigan's largest professional theatre, tackles a notorious local phenomenon — Dr. Jack Kevorkian and assisted suicide — in the Feb. 14-March 11 world premiere of Killing Time by MBT playwright-in-residence Karim Alrawi.
Meadow Brook and Detroit-area stage veteran Tom Mahard plays the hawk-nosed Doctor in the play, directed by former Alabama Shakespeare Festival artistic director Martin Platt. In the 1990s, Oakland County, MI, where the resident professional Meadow Brook company performs, was ground zero for the many cases of assisted suicide involving the pathologist Dr. Kevorkian. His name is synonymous with discussion and debate over the universal issues surrounding the right to die.
Nicole Orth-Pallavicini plays Nola Mason, a woman with a degenerative illness who seeks to end her pain; Lynnae Lehfelt plays daughter Amy; Tab Baker is a reporter. The play is set in a remote north-woods cabin.
The script won a 1999 Canadian Theatre National Playwriting Award and the International 2000 Playwriting Award.
Meadow Brook Theatre, in Rochester, MI, once underaggressive about new works and audience development, has turned over a new leaf in recent years. The company has offered two new works by Alrawi (Chagall's Arabian Nights and Gift of Glory) in recent seasons, and Killing Time will have audience talkback forums after each performance (a Meadow Brook first). Panel discussions are also planned. "As opposed to hearing a few sound-bites presented to us through the mass media, we believe Killing Time will serve as a springboard for discussion, putting the discourse in the hands of the audience," interim artistic director Debra Wicks said in statement.
A Question of Mercy, the play by David Rabe, also addresses the subject of physician-assisted suicide.
Designers are Russell Parkman (set), Barbara Jenks (costumes), Reid G. Johnson (lighting), Brett Rominger (sound).
Official opening is Feb. 17. Tickets are $21-$37.50. Meadow Brook is on the campus of Oakland University, Walton and Squirrel Roads, in Rochester. For information, call (248) 377 3300.
— By Kenneth Jones