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Heated dinner debate

Politics and religion are usually avoided at the dinner table, but not this time. For the USF play Omnium Gatherum, controversy is the whole idea.

“The events take place at a dinner party being held directly after the events of 9/11. The basic setup is that a bunch of friends (are) over for a dinner party from wildly different political backgrounds,” director David Mann said.

According to Mann, the theater department chose to do a production of this play because the issues of Sept. 11 continue to be of great importance to students.

“The issues that are involved (in the play) are ones that directly affect students: The Iraq war that’s going on – there are many students on campus who have family members and friends that are in Iraq – and the possibility that terrorism could be a major part of the future. The philosophical, economic and social issues that are creating what all of these topics are, I think, would be of great importance to the students,” Mann said.

There are many aspects of this performance that set it apart from other plays. First of all, the entire cast is composed of students.

“Even the lighting designer is a student, and the technical director is a student,” Mann said.Secondly, the food served for dinner is real. “The play takes place at dinner and the dinner is a five-course meal for eight people,” Mann said. “We actually have to create the food and figure out how to get it all to them and serve it and clean it and all that good stuff. That has been very, very challenging.”

Finally, unlike most plays, there are no lead characters in the performance. “My favorite aspect of it is that it’s truly an ensemble play. (In some plays) there are a couple of truly lead characters; there are no lead characters in this play,” Mann said.

This performance is sure to be a controversial look at the various views surrounding the events of Sept. 11. According to Mann, the characters deal with these issues with “extremely in-your-face dark humor.” It also pushes the envelope and asks the audience to deal with these issues humorously. Mann warns the audience to be prepared.