PMA professor directs international theatre production at The Cherry

“Rule of Thumb,” an international theatre production directed by Beth F. Milles, opens Feb. 23 at The Cherry Arts in Ithaca. The play reflects both her own and the Cherry Arts commitment to bringing international theatrical voices to our communities, says Milles, associate professor of performing and media arts.

The play, written by Berlin-based Serbian playwright and screenwriter Iva Brdar, was translated into English by her sister, writer Ana Brdar. Iva Brdar will visit Cornell in conjunction with the production to meet with faculty and students.

Brdar’s play tells the hilarious and thought-provoking story of Ana and Monika, two enthusiastic young Swedish women who enter a hitchhiking contest and find themselves taking a series of peculiar, delightful, and unsettling car rides through the borderlands of Serbia and Bulgaria. With quirky humor and tremendous heart, Rule of Thumb explores themes of class and cultural divide, as well as pressing questions of economic and refugee migration from both global and local perspectives.

“Rule of Thumb is a dynamic journey from start to finish—the play crosses borders and boundaries, spanning time and perceptions with delight and an impish curiosity—Brdar’s play is a poetic treatise and a ruthless exploration of expedition and the desire to expand one’s horizons,” says Milles.

The Cherry Arts’ production will mark the play’s world première. After the Ithaca run, the production will travel to New York City as part of New York-based Voyage Theater Company’s Parts Unknown reading series, sponsored by the New York Public Library. There the Cherry team will recreate the performance as a reading, at the NYPL 53rd Street branch next to the Museum of Modern Art.

Rule of Thumb is shortlisted for European playwriting competitions based in Germany and the UK; in April of this year, the play will receive its European première in German at the Schauspiel Stuttgart. 

The Cherry production stars Helen Clark and Darcy Rose; other cast members include Lawrence Bierria, Jeff Guyton, Craig McDonald, Sarah Chalmers Simmons and Jacob White.

Tickets for the Ithaca run are $20 and can be purchased online. For the preview performance on Thursday February 22, tickets are pay-what-you-will pricing.

The Cherry Arts is a not-for-profit theater company that provides Ithaca and surrounding area audiences with theater that is “radically local, radically international, and formally inventive.” The company creates works over long periods of time, developed by an ensemble of professional theater artists based in the Ithaca area. 

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