(CINCINNATI, March 14, 2019) – Xavier University Theatre continues its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of Liba Vaynberg’s The Oxford Comma. Described as a romance for realists, the show runs March 21 to 24 in Xavier’s Gallagher Student Center Theatre.
At a small private boys’ school in California, Charlotte, George and Karen try to teach while their second semester seniors doubt everyone and everything. When the lines between friends and spouses — as well as teachers and students — start to blur, everyone must decide what’s real and what isn’t.
Vaynberg is a New York-based actor, writer and singer. Her show Scheiss Book premiered at the United Solo Festival, where it won Best One Woman Show and the Backstage Audience Choice Award. The Russian and the Jew, written with Emily Perkins-Margolin, was created as part of a 2017-18 COJECO (Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations) BluePrint Fellowship and premiered at The Tank last December. Vaynberg holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and international studies from Yale University and an M.F.A. in acting from Columbia.
“As a pre-med student who became an artist, I’ve always been interested in the ways the sciences and humanities intersect at the highest levels,” Vaynberg said. “Physicists and chemists talk about the world in poetic ways, while philosophers and romantics search rigorously for patterns.”
Characters in The Oxford Comma move fluidly among three realities, which has proven to be both “challenging and thrilling” for director Amelia Pedlow. “I believe all great theatre harnesses the imagination of its audience,” Pedlow said. “We’ve been exploring how sound, music, light and, most importantly, the actors themselves, can aid in transforming the world around them in front of the audience’s eyes. I call it ‘theatrical magic.’”
Pedlow hopes audiences will empathize with the play’s many questions. “It is a deeply human play in its recognition of frailty and longing,” she said. “I feel as though audiences will thoroughly enjoy themselves. It’s a show with humor and heart, leaping from tours of ancient Italian ruins to cabins in California to a classroom in which a student asks questions the teacher isn’t sure she can answer. It’s quick-paced, with four actors playing 1o characters in 90 minutes, all of which culminates in their world literally imploding. What more could you ask for in an evening of theatre?”
The cast for The Oxford Comma features first-year student Elliot Auch, sophomore Max Carlson, and juniors Gigi Relic and Catherine Sholtis. Additional members of the creative team include Joe Leonard (Set Designer/Technical Director), Jessica Pitcairn (Costume Designer), Joe Beumer (Lighting Designer) and Aiden Dalton (Sound Designer). The stage manager is Trever McKenzie. Assistant stage managers are Alyssa Gries and Grant Zentmeyer.
Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 21, 23 and 24 and 2:00 p.m. on March 23. Tickets for The Oxford Comma are available now through the Xavier University Theatre Box Office. They are $18 each for adults and $13 each for students, as well as Xavier faculty and staff. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.xavier.edu/theatretickets or call