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Thursday, Feb. 29
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Anti-smoking play to debut Saturday

'Father Psalm' hopes to develop new career

When Duncan Teater, a 23-year-old from Lexington, Kentucky, graduated from IU last spring, he had no intention of working for someone else. \nHe lightheartedly describes himself as "totally incompetent with the real world," so instead, he chooses to concentrate on marketing his original one-man play, "Father Psalm," in hopes that he can develop a unique career of his own. Combining his talents in acting, directing and writing, Teater uses his experience in the arts to create original pieces of theater that identify personal issues in society and promote social change. \nTeater will be premiering a revamped version of "Father Psalm" in Bloomington this weekend at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. "Father Psalm" is Teater's story of the last three months he spent with his father, who was diagnosed with emphysema in the early 1990s after a lifetime of cigarette smoking. Blending family memories with humor and loss, Teater vividly describes his relationship with his father and the extremely personal impact of his father's death. \nDespite the pro-active message of the play, Teater said he doesn't want the pressure of being an activist. He said he just wants to tell his story, and he hopes people will understand. He first performed "Father Psalm" at the BPP last year, to great success. \n"It's one of the most honest pieces of theater I've ever seen," said Brian Levin, an IU theater student who attended last year's production of "Father Psalm." "It doesn't preach to you, it allows you to make up your own mind."\nTeater has used his play's description of the effects of smoking-related disease to draw generous grants from the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency and the Monroe Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Coalition. With this support, he has been able to enhance his performance-based production with newer technology, employing the talents of local scenic designer Mark Smith and costume designer Alexandra Morphet. For the past three months, Teater worked out of Cincinnati with the American Lung Association of Kentucky, continuing a year and a half long endeavor to bring "Father Psalm" to a wider audience, performing for school groups, conferences and civic organizations. \nCandace Decker, marketing director for the BPP and producer for "Father Psalm," said Teater is on his way to a successful career. \n"He takes what he knows, and will find some way to be seen," she said.\nIn a promising, yet uncertain future, Teater said he hopes to contact and persuade Hollywood screenwriter and anti-smoking advocate Joe Eszterhas to aid him in the development and preparation of "Father Psalm" for the big screen.\n"Maybe I'm shooting myself in my own damn foot," Teater said. "Maybe I'm not a real artist." \nTeater does not know what his next artistic endeavor will be.\n"It's a freefall," he said. "I just don't know what's going to happen next." \nDuncan Teater will be performing his original one-man show "Father Psalm" at the Bloomington Playwrights Project theater, 312 Washington St., this weekend, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 students and seniors. Call 355-9001 for reservations.

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