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'Two Rooms' about love in hostage situation opens Tuesday at Burtness

Alyssa Thompson, director of the UND student show that will open Tuesday in Grand Forks, didn't have to read far in the Lee Blessing play "Two Rooms" before she was sold on it.

'Two Rooms'
Tomas Grande (left) and Julia Porter play a hostage and his wife in "Two Rooms," opening today at UND. Directed by Alyssa Thompson, this student show is about 90 minutes including a 10-minute intermission. It has adult themes and some adult language.

Alyssa Thompson, director of the UND student show that will open Tuesday in Grand Forks, didn't have to read far in the Lee Blessing play "Two Rooms" before she was sold on it.

"Two pages in, literally on the second monologue of the show, I knew it was what I wanted to do," Thompson said. "There is a love story, but there is so much pain surrounding it."

"Two Rooms" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Nov. 21 at UND Burtness Lab Theater, which is in the basement of the Burtness.

Thompson said she found the show beautiful and different, not to mention politically topical. Based on actual events, "Two Rooms" tells the story of an American professor taken hostage in Beirut and his wife's struggle to win his freedom. The two, Michael and Lainie, are played by Tomas Grande and Julia Porter. Larissa Netterlund and Andrew Markiewicz round out the cast.

Thompson, a student at UND, is directing the show, and other students are involved in putting the production on stage,

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The two-act play runs about 90 minutes, including a 10-minute intermission. Thompson rates it PG-13 for adult language and adult themes. Terrorism and torture, although never depicted, are discussed on stage, she said.

Although "Two Rooms" is based on events that happened between 1982 and 1991, its story and themes remain relevant today. The Middle East still is a violent place, and hostages still are being taken.

Lainie, the hostage's wife, must navigate a line between those who want to her to speak out about her husband's plight and government pressure to keep silent so that he'll be safe. Which will bring her husband home?

Audiences should know that "Two Rooms" is about more than a tense and terrifying hostage situation, Thompson said.

"I don't want them to be scared to come see it because of the context," Thompson said. "Its about a love story beneath it all, and what people will do to get their loved ones back. I think that's something that everyone can relate to."

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students with valid ID. Group discounts are available. For tickets, call (701) 777-2587.

Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to ptobin@gfherald.com .

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