Sold-Out 'Fever Chart' to Focus on War and Compassion

By Lisa Y. Garibay

UTEP News Service

Being a first-time director and using an all-student cast is a daunting enough combination. But tackling a play about conflict in the Middle East as well?

Difficult subject matter wasn’t enough to hold back Lupe Campos and her collaborators in the Department of Theatre and Dance. They will be staging The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East at 8 p.m. Nov.  14 – 17  and at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Studio Theatre at the Fox Fine Arts Center.UTEP students Damian Dena, right, and Rossy Sanchez will perform in “The Fever Chart.” Photo courtesy of the Department of Theatre and Dance.UTEP students Damian Dena, right, and Rossy Sanchez will perform in “The Fever Chart.” Photo courtesy of the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The Fever Chart dares the audience to look into the lives of people who have suffered as a result of the conflicts in the Middle East. Award-winning playwright Naomi Wallace questions the human ability to be compassionate and selfless in extraordinary circumstances such as war. Along with the characters, the audience is forced to question their personal choices and reflect on their lives. Using music, prose and poetry, Wallace’s play depicts a heartfelt trilogy of the presence of loss, the lack of love, and the need for compassion in today’s society.

“This is a powerful and relevant piece by a contemporary playwright that is thought provoking and compelling. The department felt that this piece would be an amazing opportunity for Lupe to make her directorial debut,” said Adriana Dominguez, Ph.D, director of audience development for the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The production’s cast includes Damian Dena in the roles of Sholomo/Mourid Kamal/Ali, Rachel Gomez as Tanya Langer, Rossy Sanchez as Um Hisham Quishta, Frank Leal as Yuval, and Juan Salomon as Sami Elbaz.

“I am blessed to have worked with intelligent mentors, an outstanding production team and an extremely talented cast,” Campos said. “I know everyone has worked very hard on this production and I am very thankful for that.”

Naomi Wallace is a lauded name in contemporary theater. Her plays include In the Heart of America, One Flea Spare, Slaughter City, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, and Things of Dry Hours. Her works The War Boys and Lawn Dogs have been turned into award-winning films. She is a recipient of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Kesselring Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, and an Obie (Off-Broadway Theater Award). She is also a recipient of the highly coveted MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. Just this year, Wallace received the Horton Foote Prize for most promising new American play.

There are no more tickets available for purchase; they had all sold out by Friday, Nov. 9. Those interested in being put on a wait list for tickets must sign up in person and be in the box office lobby 15 minutes prior to curtain.

The show, which is approximately 90 minutes long, contains adult language and content; therefore, it is not advised that children under the age of 10 attend. Ultimately, however, “The Fever Chart” aims to leave audience members with a positive impression.

 “The Fever Chart is a play about compassion and coexistence,” Campos said. “It is striving to cleanse the audience from ill feelings and help us heal so we can progress into a world of peace. I think theater should be provocative and make the audience reflect about their own actions. I want the audience to walk away with a sense of hope and inspired to change something in their lives.”