“bobrauschenbergamerica” opens Sept. 24

by Erin Dahl,

In Willamette University’s new fall theater production, “bobrauschenbergamerica,” viewers will watch a giant chicken cross the stage, hear the sound of a NASA moon landing and witness the construction of a human martini.

As for what these elements have in common, Director Jonathan Cole doesn’t want to spoil the surprise.

“This play is fun, beautiful and visually stunning,” he says. “Once it starts, it transforms into a cornucopia of color, dance, movement, text and some really ridiculous chicken jokes.”

Written by Charles Mee, “bobrauschenbergamerica” is debuting at Willamette. The play is a meditation on America, written in a style based loosely on the work of Bob Rauschenberg, an American painter and graphic artist. Credited with anticipating the pop art movement, Rauschenberg died in 2008 at the age of 82.

“‘bobrauschenbergamerica’ is full of pop culture references and touching remembrances to which any of us can relate,” Cole says. “It is a beautifully crafted collage that digs into notions of America, Americans and Americana. It is smart, funny, touching and incredibly aesthetically rich.”

Tickets and Art Showing

“bobrauschenbergamerica” is showing in the Willamette University Pelton Theatre Sept. 25 through Oct. 10, with a preview performance Sept. 24. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and matinees begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 24 and Oct. 4 and 10.

General-admission tickets for the preview performance cost $8, the same as all tickets for students and seniors 65 and older. Matinees are $10, and evening performances are $12.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, by calling the WU Theatre Box Office at 503-370-6221 or by email at thtr-tix@willamette.edu. They are also available at www.boxofficetickets.com.

People who attend “bobrauschenbergamerica” will receive a coupon for $1 off admission to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. People visiting the museum can also pick up a coupon for $1 off a theatre ticket.

Through Dec. 20, the museum is presenting a small exhibition of Rauschenberg’s works, featuring three iconic prints from the early 1970s, an editioned sculpture from 1990 and a print from 2008. The pieces were curated from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation.