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Getting Out: UNCW Theatre’s Season Opener 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The UNCW Department of Theatre, a touchstone of Wilmington theatre, will open its 2018-2019 season with Getting Out by Marsha Norman, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner. Throughout her career, Norman hasn’t shied away from shining a spotlight on the nuance and struggle embedded in social issues and Getting Out is no exception.  

Getting Out tells the story of Arlene, who has been labeled “completely rehabilitated after eight years in prison for robbery, attempted kidnapping, and murder. Arlene has been released from prison but is still struggling to free herself from the shackles of the habits and situations that landed her in prison.   

The production balances the attitudes and actions of old Arlene (also known as Arlie), with “rehabilitated” Arlene through memories and flashbacks. Actor Bradley Alfieri, playing Guard Calwell and the Doctor, says “Getting Out is a rollercoaster of emotions that thrills the audience. The flashbacks and complimentary scenes are exciting to watch.” 

Getting Out Wilmington TheatreWhile Arlene is a fictional character, her emotional and thrilling story is rooted in the very real struggle that many Americans face. According to a study conducted in 2005 involving 30 states, 76.6% of all released prisoners were rearrested within five years. Instead of offering us a cut-and-dry solution to this issueGetting Out promises to make us think, by sparking discussions about what happens when “completely rehabilitated” ex-cons try to come back to the real world where their previous lives—the ones they lived before prison—await them. 

Actor Penelope Sangiorgi, who plays Arlie, says “Getting Out does a great job at showing that there’s a motivation behind even the most horrible crimes. That there’s still a person underneath the tough skin.” 

While the life of an ex-con can be unpredictable and full of conflict, Getting Out shows that hope and humanity can shine through in any situation.  

“Life after prison is something we hear is brutal but never really understand the full magnitude of working as hard as you can to show people you want a better life. There is something beautiful in rooting for Arlene’s redemption and following to see if she finally gets that closure she needs to move on with a new life,” reflects Actor Tommy Goodwin, who plays the role of Bennie, a sympathetic prison guard. 

Getting Out will run November 8-11 and 15-18 on the Mainstage Theatre in UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building. Show times on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. 

Tickets for Getting Out are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors, UNCW Alum, and UNCW Faculty and Staff, and $6 for students. Tickets are available for purchase at the UNCW Arts Ticket Office in Kenan Auditorium, by calling 910.962.3500, or online 

Quotes from actors were obtained from the UNCW Theatre Facebook page 

-Lindsay Lake