USD Theatre opens with satire on war When The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre launches its 1999-2000 season of plays with The White House Murder Case. Oct. 13-17, spectators will be transported to our nation's capital where playwright Jules Feiffer takes pot shots at the not-so-great minds that govern. With satire as his chief comic tool, Feiffer paints a picture of a nation led by bumbling bureaucrats, all of whom cling to absurd, militaristic policies.
The exaggerated action is set both on the field of battle, where the U.S. is waging a questionable war in Brazil, and in the oval office where politicians scramble to keep their jobs in the face of growing anti-war sentiment. On the battlefield, soldiers follow orders. Win at any cost is the motto so Feiffer bathes the battlefield in illegal, poisonous gases and shows soldiers losing limb after limb in a comically bizarre fashion.
Back in the White House, with an election on the horizon, the bureaucrats go to extraordinary lengths to avoid accepting responsibility for the failures of their policies. The action intensifies when someone close to the president is murdered, paving the way for a delightfully subversive "who-dunnit".
If some of this sounds vaguely familiar, it is. The play was written in 1970 at the height of the Vietnam War and the public's disillusionment with that conflict. Feiffer sets his comedy in the not-so-distant future, however, as a means of showing us that things really haven't changed all that much. The leaders are still ineffective and self- absorbed, and the wars and suffering continue.
The White House Murder Case, which is directed by Roberta N. Rude, performs at 8 p.m. Oct. 13-16 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 17 in Theatre I of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and youth, and $1 for USD students with ID.
Box office hours are 1-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. on weekends. Tickets may be reserved by calling (605) 677-5400 or by stopping by the box office in the lobby of Fine Arts.