Fall Production

The School for Scandal

by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
directed by Glen Gourley

October 16-19, 2002
Fine Arts Theatre
Hyman Fine Arts Center
Francis Marion University

Set in the late 1700’s, this play deals with the London upper crust and their “gossiping” ways. Under the direction of Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Glen Gourley, the production will be in typical restoration comedy style with the plot centering around mistaken identities, overheard conversations, and rumors being blown out of proportion to the point of the ridiculous.

With lavish settings depicting the architectural styles of the London upper society and the sumptuous costumes and wigs portraying the times and tastes of the extravagant citizens of London, the play deals with husbands suspecting their wives of infidelities, a returned rich uncle who finds his nephews at odds with society, overheard conversations, and gossiping societies whose “reports” ruin lives with every spoken word. In other words, The School for Scandal is not all that different from present day soap operas — just a lot more fun with opulent sets and costumes.

Winter Production

Book of Days

by Lanford Wilson
directed by D. Keith Best

February 19-22, 2003
Fine Arts Theatre
Hyman Fine Arts Center
Francis Marion University

Lanford Wilson’s Book of Days won the Best Play Award from the American Theater Critics Association. Book of Days is set in a small town dominated by a cheese plant, a fundamentalist church, and a community theater. When the owner of the cheese plant dies mysteriously in a hunting accident, Ruth, his bookkeeper, suspects murder. Cast as Joan of Arc in a local production of George Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan, Ruth takes on the attributes of her fictional character and launches into a one-woman campaign to see justice done.

Lanford Wilson uses note-perfect language to create characters who are remarkable both for their comic turns and for their enormous depth. “Mr. Wilson’s cosmic consciousness, intense moral concern, sense of human redemption and romantic effusion have climbed to a new peak.” — Alvin Klein New York Times

RUTH HOCH: Rachel Harrison
LEN HOCH: Vince Triana
GINGER REED: Sarah Thorowgood
MARTHA HOCH: Carol Graziani
WALT BATES: Brad Sponic
SHARON BATES: Gretchen Freund
JAMES BATES: David Sistare
LOUANN BATES: Tiffany Sarvis
EARL HILL: Andrew Cogswell
SHERIFF CONROY ATKINS: Christopher Blackwell
DIRECTOR: Associate Professor D. Keith Best

Spring Production

Crimes of the Heart

by Beth Henley

April 16-19, 2003
Fine Arts Theatre
Hyman Fine Arts Center
Francis Marion University

The scene is Hazlehurst, Mississippi, where the three McGrath sisters have gathered to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital. Lenny, the oldest sister is unmarried at thirty and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister, who quickly outgrew Hazlehurst, is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach.

Their troubles, that are grave and yet, somehow, hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while helpless not to fall in love with her. In the end the play is the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future – but the telling is to true and touching and consistently hilarious that it will linger in the mind long after the curtain has descended. These three women learn to greet the tragic, absurd twists of fate with courage, love and the ultimate saving grace of laughter.

Beth Henley won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the New York Critics Circle Award for this irreverent, warm-hearted portrayal of three very different sisters struggling to make sense of their lives.

Cast List:
Lenny MaGrath: Jessica Willis
Chick: Aubrey Phillips
Meg MaGrath: Rachel Harrison
Doc Porter: David Sistare
Babe Botrelle: Christen Gilbert
Barnette Lloyd: Joey Webster