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College of Arts and Humanities

CTE Opens with Inge’s Classic "Picnic," Exploring Social Norms of a Bygone Era, November 8

A magnetic and charming drifter, a local beauty and the last sweltering days of summer are the key ingredients in William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize and Critic’s Circle winner, Picnic. The play explores themes of sexuality, repression, and rites of passage.

“We view this work not only as a classic piece from one the American masters, but also an opportunity to examine the social/gender constraints of a time in our recent past,” said Patrick Dizney, chair and professor of Theatre Arts. “Gender roles were changing rapidly at this time in our history. The play was a precursor to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.”

Picnic will be performed at 7:30 p.m. November 8-10 and 15-17, and at 2:00 p.m. on November 18 in the Milo Smith Tower Theatre on the Central Washington University Ellensburg campus. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for seniors, alumni and students; and $8 for CWU Students with ID. Tickets may be purchased online at Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Wildcat Shop Customer Service in the Student Union and Recreation Building, or by phone at 509-963-1429. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.

The American playwright Inge (Bus Stop, Splendor in the Grass) wrote this award-winning realistic play capturing 1950’s small town USA, spiked with the social mores and pressures that were shaping the country at the time.

When a former football hero, Hal, shows up on the freight train that passes through the center of town, everyone feels the hot breath of time in a new way.  The mother of Madge, the “prettiest girl in town” encourages her daughter to “land” the rich boy Alan, although Madge’s heart is suddenly pulled in a new direction. Madge’s tomboy younger sister, Millie, has completely different ideas about what would be fun to do tonight. And everyone is supposed leave soon to the town picnic, on this, the last night of summer.

Come revel in the fun, charm, and drama of this ultimately heart-wrenching show,

Parking at CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, except in specially designated spaces or in residence hall lots.

Parental Guidance
Parents may consider some material unsuitable for their youngest children.
May include situations, language, or actions that may startle some patrons.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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