January 17, 2019  

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‘Snakebit’ Confronts Mature Issues, Opens Theatre Studio Series Feb. 22

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The cast of “Snakebit” in the Gilbert F. Hartiwig Theatre. (Submitted photo)

A story about three friends struggling to deal with the controversial issues of homosexuality and AIDS will open The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Theatre and Dance’s Studio Series Tuesday, Feb. 22 in the Gilbert F. Hartwig Theatre.

The comic-drama “Snakebit” is a story of modern friendship put to the test. Set in contemporary Los Angeles, the plot centers around four 30-something characters as they try to support each other through self-doubts and crucial life altering questions. “Snakebit” is intended for mature audiences only.

Director Joe Hernandez, a second-year master of fine arts directing student, describes “Snakebit” as a journey of hope.

“This story deals with a lot of issues that people are sometimes a little uncomfortable with, but the cast brings out a great story that everyone will want to see,” said Hernandez, a Crestview, Fla., native.

Written by notable American actor and playwright David Marshall Grant, “Snakebit” focuses on topics of friendship, love and understanding, using wordplay to spice up the intense moments.

“The more I read and re-read this play I began to love it, because it’s a story that I relate to and I think other people will find themselves relating to these characters as well,” Hernandez said.

Annie Cleveland, a senior performance major from Jackson, Miss., plays the role of Jennifer, who acts as a mother to all and is constantly trying to deal with everyone else’s problems, while attempting to bring clarity to her own.Matt McDaniel, a senior performance major from Flowood, Miss, plays the role of Gary, who is the outside character coming into the group dynamic.

Sean Scrutchins, a third-year master of fine arts performance student from Shawnee, Okla., plays Jonathan, a character the audience will love to hate. Nelson Rodriguez, a third-year master of fine arts performance student from Gainesville, Ga., plays Michael, who possesses an unwavering determination and love for children.

“You’ll find yourself cheering him to make the right choice and find the joy in his life that he truly desires,” Hernandez said.

The production will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 27 with a pre-show talk at 1 p.m. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $6 for students. Order tickets online at www.southermisstickets.com or call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418 or 800.844.8425.