Medium Skewered by Haney Anderson
Directed by: Paul McInnis
Desiree – Hannah Valleroy
Henry – Zaylin Yate
Maggie – Caroline Clay
Keith – Paul Gary
Stage Directions – Pauline McGowan
Our Own Little Carnie Sideshow by Nate Harpel
Directed by: Frannie Nejako
Girl – Kelsey Blackwell
Boy – Alex Newton
Delilah – Halley Tiefert
Attention! Attention! Step right up to the greatest skin show you have ever feasted your eyes upon! Watch as our beautiful dancers showcase the most exotic dances from every corner of the globe! Their swinging tassels are guaranteed to dizzy any onlooker!
Why, you’ve never been to a carnie skin show before? Well allow me to tell you more! Ever since the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where attendees became transfixed by an exotic belly dance known as the Hoochie Coochie, risqué dancing and stripping has had a permanent home in America. Back in the day, the Hoochie Coochie spread like wildfire through vaudeville acts, burlesques, and even into these carnival sideshow acts. Over time, the costumes got smaller and the dances got sexier. These clever ladies began to use the center poles holding up the tent, or snorting pole as we call it, in their acts and audiences went wild! The audience love to see these ladies dance around those poles so much that permanent stripping joints have begun to put poles up on their stage for the dancers to use.
So come right in, have a drink, stay a while, but don’t let your wife catch you!
—Luke White, dramaturg, Appalachian State.
King of the Woods by Molly Pease
Directed by: Michelle Renee Benson
Vernon – Conway Poteet
Henry – Townsend Reynolds
Stage Directions – Aaron Smith
“Those trees in whose dim shadow
The ghastly priest doth reign
The priest who slew the slayer,
And shall himself be slain.”
– Thomas Babington Macaulay
King of the Woods brings to life an old story about the Golden Bough of Diana. This tale follows cult of Diana Nemorensis, or Diana of the Wood. The beautiful virgin, the goddess of the hunt and patron of the lower class was worshipped by a certain sect of men. Their leader, or King-Priest, would guard the sacred tree in a valley belonging to Diana. He won this right though combat, killing the one before him. Upon that sacred tree was a golden bough, and the only men who could tear it down were runaway slaves. When he tore it down, he challenged the current King-Priest for the title and honor. So, a man could go from slave to king, but at a cost. He would then spend the rest of his life watching for his life.
The idea of power is always very tempting, but as we so often find out, this power comes at a price. We meet Henry, a college student looking for answers and for faith. He finds that faith is what keeps us tied to something or someone- and we can never know if it really exists. Henry learns that there is always a choice: we can either let divinity define, or allow logic to dictate.
—Kara Huffman, dramaturg, University of West Georgia
Whatever by Cynthia Kay
Directed by: Gage Crook
Baily – Lindsey Grace Mercado
Carla – McKinley Hughes
Stage Directions – Kevin Roost
Social media is consuming our lives. Remember when we used landlines to call our crush? Or when text messages cost you twenty-five cents? Remember when Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, and Pinterest didn’t exist? And yes, a distant time ago MySpace did not exist either. Instead of asking how to gain self-fulfillment, we ask ourselves how to word it in 120 characters. We have lost our ability to truly talk—and listen—to one another.
Take a moment to get off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and consider what really matters to you: how would your relationships be different without social media? Are the relationships you’re building genuine? What role do you play in social media?
Think about it, or just say “whatever,” but no matter what—enjoy the show.
—-Kendyl Siebart, dramaturg, Morehead State
Mirror Mirror by Laura King
Directed by: Rebecca Dodson
Mother – LaShondra Hood
Daughter – Simone Curry
Stage Directions – Tierra Williams
A Daughter’s Unasked Questions
A poem by Elle Marie Sullivan
Mother, who were you before me?
Did you have things you wanted to do?
What were your dreams?
Did you want the things that I want?
Were you a little girl too?
I cannot imagine you as anyone but you.
I do not believe that you were once young.
I cannot wait to be grown up
Just like you.
I want to have a little girl
Just like me.
I want to be like you.
Were you ever like me?
Will I ever be like you?
Will I be a mother?
What if I’m not ready when my daughter arrives?
I have dreams of my own
And what if I don’t achieve them?
—Elle Marie Sullivan, dramaturg, University of Central Florida
The Beauticians by Molly Pease
Directed by: Lauren Ellis
Inma – Anna Fontaine
Liza – Ashia Kendrick
Doris – Tessa Bryant
Old Woman – Marissa Quijado
Stage Directions – Martel Raymond
“I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death.”
“Everybody has got to die, but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case.”
“Though beauty is fleeting, join us as we paint the roses red…at least for ten minutes.”
As conversation starters go, death ranks right up there with bed sores and earwax. Most people just don’t want to talk about it. Ever. And yet it is never far beneath the surface of our collective consciousness. From the darkest death fantasy to the most shallow pop culture, references to death are everywhere. It is simultaneously our society’s obsession and the monster under the bed.
What is the origin of this schizophrenic attitude in American culture? Might it be the need to create the illusion of control over the uncontrollable? If we ignore death, pretend it isn’t happening, we give truth to the lie that we are in charge of our own fate. Simultaneously, immersing ourselves in the rituals surrounding death puts on a brave face, but it is just another attempt to control how and when death happens. An absurdist at heart, playwright Molly Pease senses the often ridiculous, occasionally extreme fictions humans will create to cope with our own mortality.
—Christy Hutcheson, dramaturg, Auburn University Montgomery