Southern Oregon University's Department of Theatre Arts will present two plays beginning this Thursday.

Southern Oregon University's Department of Theatre Arts will present two plays beginning this week.

The first is "Icarus" by Edwin Sánchez. The play will run at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 14-23, and 8 p.m. Sunday, May 24, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24, at the Center Square Theatre on the SOU campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

A brother and sister and a mysterious homeless companion move into a beach house. They are joined by a man who wears a ski mask. An aging actress, craving adoring fans, lives next door. Through all their quests and challenges, it is dreams and fantasies that fuel their lives and carry them above the everyday world.

Bruce Weber of the New York Times describes Sánchez as a writer "with the imagery of a magic realist and a sweetly poetic sensibility "¦ and 'Icarus,' like the myth of the wax-winged flier, is a story about the nobility of dreams."

In a press release, director Jimmy Garcia, a senior in the department, said, "Icarus asks interesting and personal questions that will touch every soul regardless of age and background. It's about our perception of beauty, about how our society decides what is beautiful and the consequences of those decisions.

"This play offers the audience member a chance to examine their own ideas of beauty, dreams and the power of love. Not just romantic love, but also love for family and love of self."

Garcia has been an actor for 17 years at theaters in the Northwest, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage Theatre and the Miracle Theatre. He has taught private classes for 10 years in Los Angeles, Portland and the Rogue Valley, including at IMD/Image and Modeling Development. This directing role is his culminating project in the SOU Department of Theatre Arts.

David Demuth plays Mr. Ellis, Hannah Grenfell plays Altagracia, Tony Kupsick is Primitivo, Jorge Paniagua is Beau and Ashley Reverman plays The Gloria.

Scenic design is by Ryan Nicolai, costume design by Caitlin Bedford, lighting design by Max Bowman and sound design by Chris Sackett.Danielle Pecoff is the assistant director and Stephen Abts is stage manager.

The second play is "Love's Labor's Lost" by William Shakespeare. The play will run at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 21-23, and Thursday-Sunday, May 28-31, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 30-31, at the Dorothy Stolp Center Stage Theatre on the SOU campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

The King of Navarre and three lords who are his close companions decide to devote themselves to three years of study and not give in to the company of women. Their oath is put to the test in short order when the Princess of France and her ladies-in-waiting arrive on a visit to the King's court.

"It's a luxurious dessert of a play about many things," director Dale Luciano said in a press release. "It's about the giddiness of being young and in love but having to come to terms with love's obligations. It's about making oaths and vows and learning how difficult it can be to keep them."

Luciano has been a professor in the SOU theatre arts department since 1985. In that time, he has directed more than 23 plays at SOU. Shakespeare's classic use of wordplay, puns and proximity to temptation brings the lords' firmness of intention to the brink in this comedy. "Each character in the play uses language in a very distinctive way, ranging from ludicrous to beautiful," said Luciano.

"The characters use language like silly putty, twisting and shaping it to their own purposes. Their world is one where your ability to use words defines who you are." Gregg Land plays the King of Navarre. Jonathan Dyrud, Isaac Kosydar and Brennen Johnson play the King's companions. Deborah Jensen is the Princess of France and Juliana Slemenda, Mallory Wedding and Jenna Johnson play her ladies-in-waiting.

Scenic design is by Sean O'Skea, costume design by Katie Nowacki, lighting design by Laura Wiley and sound design by Robbie Erickson. Curtis Goodman is assistant director and Bridget Carlson is the stage manager.

Tickets for each play are $18 regular, $16 senior, $5 students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 552-6348.