Department of English at Illinois State University

English Department Faculty, Students, and Staff Participate in New Theatre Series

Four members of the English Department, Joe Amato and Kass Fleisher, Lasantha Rodrigo, and Irene Taylor will have plays produced this coming year as part of the New Route Theatre's "One Shot Deal" series at the Corn Rose Theatre inside Eaton Gallery on 411 N. Center Street in Bloomington, IL.

New Route Theatre is one of three performing companies that comprise the Illinois Theatre Consortium.  NTR is committed to doing professional quality theatre with a focus on original works.  Its overriding mission is the development of the ethnically diverse pool of actors, directors, designers, and writers who represent the local community.

The performances are for one night only at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of each month and include the following four plays.

Suppos'd to by Irene Taylor - April 13, 2011.  A 56 year old woman's veneer of civility and self deprecation starts to unravel as her anger with all of the "Suppos'd to's" in her life lead her and the audience on a journey of self discovery and empowerment in a new play by local playwright and actress, M. Irene Taylor.  "It seems to me that everything I approach in life has a 'suppos'd to' attached.  I'm not saying, for a moment, I expect it to be any other way.  Well, rationally and logically, I don't expect it to be any other way.  But, emotionally, I'm not so sure."

Life Writings of Seniors compiled by Irene Taylor - June 8, 2011. Taken from a life writing workshop for the Seniors of assisted living facilities, Irene Taylor will cull the reflections of its members into a piece performed by actors from the local community.  This project will not only open the door for these seniors to tap into their own resources, it will also allow them to relive those memories as audience members experience the dramatic representation of their writings.

Colors by Lasantha Rodrigo - October 12, 2011.  "My name is Chethiya.  In Sinhalese, the native language of Sri Lanka, it means temple.  I had many dreams a few years ago.  I don't have that many now, unfortunately.  I live for the day. I like stories, though, so I will tell you my story.  It's not very happy, I'm afraid, but, it's very colorful.  Colors of the sunset, color of jasmines and coffee blossoms, blood red of the cement floor of my suburban home in Sri Lanka."    

This semi-autobiographical play by Lasantha Rodrigo, an Illinois State University doctoral candidate, takes us from Sri Lanka to Normal, IL, displaying all of the emotional colors experienced along the way.

Fat Jack's by Joe Amato & Kass Fleisher - November 9, 2011. Described as a "Full Length Fantasia in One Act," the local playwrights explain their inspiration for this exciting new play in their Author's notes.

"Actor and playwright Sam Shepard was arrested for speeding and driving under the influence at about 2 a.m. on January 2, 2009 in Normal, Illinois.  Traveling with him in his 2007 Chevy Tahoe was a poodle.  He had stopped for the night in the Twin Cities of Bloomington-Normal while journeying from the home of his partner, Jessica Lange, in Minnesota to his residence in Kentucky.  He'd left Fat Jack's where he'd previously autographed a bottle of Woodford Reserve and was on his way to the Best Western in Normal.  He was pulled over by the Normal Police, one of the largest per-capita police forces in Illinois, in a town that had at the time been subjected to an inordinate number of bank robberies.  According to local reports, Shepard had visited the bar several times in the past after befriending a bartender.  Aside from these points, everything in this work is a fiction.  Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental."

More information about the series is available at

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new route theatre writers

Joe Amato, Kass Fleisher, Irene Taylor, Lasantha Rodrigo