“Speech & Debate" at St. Ambrose University -- February 14 through 16

Thursday, February 14, through Saturday, February 16

St. Ambrose University Studio Theatre, Galvin Fine Arts Center, 2101 North Gaines Street, Davenport IA

With Variety magazine calling it a work in which “conflicts explode in consistently intriguing ways,” the comedic drama Speech & Debate will be presented as the latest student-directed production in St. Ambrose University's Studio Theatre, its February 14 through 16 run demonstrating why the Washington Post deemed it a “suspenseful tale that fuses keen-eyed civic critique with riotous and even campy humor.”

When, in Speech & Debate, the Republican mayor of Salem, Oregon, is caught in a sex scandal involving underage boys and the Internet, local high-school student Solomon sits up and takes notice. Intelligent and aggressive, this nerdy, single-minded teen with journalistic ambitions wants to investigate homophobic closeted men in positions of power in the state capitol, whether or not they're politicians. Meanwhile, Howie, a gay high-school transfer student, is disgusted by the Puritan culture of Salem, in which he can't get a Gay-Straight Alliance sponsored at school but can get picked up by a teacher in a chat room. And dramatic, determined Diwata, a young diva with adult burdens and a grudge against the drama teacher who refuses to cast her, is the nervous witness to an illicit student/teacher encounter. When these three students realize they each have a piece of the same scandalous puzzle, purposes are double- and triple-crossed, conversations explode, secrets are bartered, and ultimately, and in spite of themselves, an alliance is formed.

Written by Stephen Karam, who won a Best Play Tony Award for The Humans, Speech & Debate is a hilarious, emotional story of misfit teens who explore sexuality, identity, and personal power as they learn to deal with misunderstanding and dismissal from the adult world. T.J. Green, a St. Ambrose senior whose acting credits include roles in Rabbit Hole, Richard III, and Quad City Music Guild's Shrek: The Musical will direct the Studio Theatre presentation, with his cast composed of fellow students Tyler Hughes (Picasso at the Lapin Agile) as Solomon, Keegan Harry (Honk Jr.) as Howie, Sarah Goodall (Cabaret) as Diwanta, and Abbie Carpenter (Rumors) double-cast as a teacher and reporter.

Speech & Debate will be performed February 14 through 16 in St. Ambrose University's Studio Theatre in the Galvin Fine Arts Center, with show times at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $6, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)333-6251 or visiting SAU.edu/theatre.

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