Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre returns to full-scale performances this month with its first mainstage production, A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage © 1959 by Robert Bastron. Performances run October 15-24 at the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. Attendees must be masked for the health and safety of our students.
Set against the backdrop of the late 1950s and told in the style of the social guidance films of that era, this satirical comedy compares the joys of marriage promised in popular culture to the reality of shattered marital myths.
“The play follows two young couples from courtship to marriage and explores the complications of how gendered roles impact married life,” said Director Rob Roznowski. “It is set in a time when the nation was returning from World War II and ‘The American Dream’ seemed in reach. History looks back on this time with the fondness of how Americans ‘should’ be living. Many still believe in this myth, despite it being a homogenous, patriarchal, homophobic, and white reality.”
Scenic Designer Kasee Arnett (MFA Design) says the concept that anyone can live an idyllic life by following the propagandized rules of social norms extends into the various design elements of the show.
“The set incorporates blueprints from actual homes built in the 1950s because I wanted to emphasize the premise of peeling away the illusion of marital bliss and exposing the reality of marriage,” Arnett said.
The set incorporates blueprints from actual homes built in the 1950s because I wanted to emphasize the premise of peeling away the illusion of marital bliss and exposing the reality of marriage.Kasee Arnett, Scenic Designer and MFA Design student
Following the performance on Thursday, October 21, the audience is invited to join Patrick Arnold, Advisor for the MSU Center on Gender in Global Context, for a post-show discussion.
Tickets for A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage © 1959 are $23.50 for general admission, $21.50 for MSU faculty/staff and seniors, and $13.50 for students. Tickets are available online at whartoncenter.com, at the Wharton Center box office, or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.
Performance Dates and Times
- Friday, October 15, at 8 p.m.
- Saturday, October 16, at 8 p.m.
- Sunday, October 17, at 2 p.m.*
- Tuesday, October 19, at 7:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, October 21, at 7:30 p.m.**
- Friday, October 22, at 8 p.m.
- Saturday, October 23, at 2 p.m.
- Saturday, October 23, at 8 p.m.
- Sunday, October 24, at 2 p.m.
*Director Pre-Show Discussion Sunday, October 17, at 1:15 p.m.
**Post-show discussion on Thursday, October 21, following the performance.
For more information on the show and other MSU Department of Theatre productions, visit: https://theatre.msu.edu/productions/21-22/.