University Theatre presents Fresno premiere of ‘A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)’

~ By Miguel Gastelum, communications specialist for University Theatre

Fresno State University Theatre presents its first show of the 2017-18 season, “A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations),” written by Sam Shepard and directed by J. Daniel Herring.

“A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)” is the last play written by the late American playwright, Sam Shepard. Shepard was regarded of one of the American theatre’s finest playwrights. This University Theatre production is dedicated in Shepard’s memory. The production will run Sept. 29 through Oct. 7 in the Dennis and Cheryl Woods Theatre on the campus of Fresno State.

In “A Particle of Dread,” Sam Shepard takes one of the most famous plays in history — “Oedipus Rex” — and transforms it into a modern American classic. In this telling, Oedipus, King of Thebes, prophesized to kill his father and marry his mother, alternates between his classical identity and that of contemporary “Otto.”

Dazzlingly inventive, ringing with the timelessness of myth, “A Particle of Dread” is an unforgettable work that grapples with questions of storytelling and destiny — the narratives we pass down, and how they shape our lives. It is a play that lingers in the mind long after we finish the last scene.

“I am absolutely honored to be directing the final play of one of America’s finest playwrights,” said Director J. Daniel Herring. “Sam Shepard’s legacy will live on in his unique style of storytelling, complex characters and vibrant language.”

Following the Oct. 1 matinee performance, University Theatre will host a talkback with the cast and Dr. Honora Chapman, associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

The cast includes; Sara Marie Adam, Ruby Arreguin, Hannah Berry, Kat Campos, Gian Console, Thuy Duong, Aaron Gomes, Ian Jones, Andrew Navarette, Anthony teNyenhuis, Andrew Trevino and Steven Weatherbee.

The production team includes; Lia Christine Dewey (stage manager), Caleb Wilson (assistant stage manager), Jeff Hunter (scenic designer), René Nielson (props designer), Liz Waldman (sound designer), Regina Harris (lighting designer), Kristine Doiel (costume designer) and Rachel Martinez (hair/makeup designer).

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni, seniors and military; and $10 for students. Group rates and season subscriptions are available. Box office hours are noon-4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance.

Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. For shows on Tuesday through Thursday night, parking permits are required and may be purchased at dispensers in parking lots on campus.

For more information, contact the box office at 559.278.2216 or

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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