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FMU Theatre to present "The Hammerstone," Feb. 23-25

        FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University Theatre will present Jon Tuttle’s “The Hammerstone,” Feb. 23-25.

        Performances begin at 8 p.m. in the Hyman Fine Arts Center’s theatre. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Call the box office at 843-661-1365, Monday through Friday, between 1 and 5 p.m., for seating availability.

        Tuttle is a professor of English at FMU. His plays have received over 50 productions in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbia, and elsewhere, and he is the Playwright-in-Residence/Literary Manager at the Trustus Theatre in Columbia.

        In the play, at a small college with virtually no admission requirements, two aging professors deal differently, but disastrously, with the students whose S.A.T. scores are lower than their cholesterol counts – and with their own obsolescence. Victor Ransome has long since given up cajoling his classes into paying attention and now uses insults and threats of physical violence. “I can kill you if I want,” he tells a student, “I’ve got tenure.”

        His best – well, only – friend, Murray Stone, still loves teaching, primarily because it fosters his delusions of perpetual youth. Through their offices come a variety of aggravations in the persons of a completely bewildered baseball player, a smitten spinster, and a gorgeous business major, each of whom serve to remind them that in education come various human responsibilities which sometimes supersede actual teaching.

        By the play’s end, Murray has understood this lesson. Victor, however, has not, and is, in fact, quite dead. His death underscores the message at the bottom of the play: that teaching, like living, takes continual reinvestment. As Murray puts it, “Happiness is an act of will.” While the play makes considerable fun of the state of modern American education, and speculates on the collapse of western civilization once the next generation assumes control of it, in the end, it is a positive statement for teaching, and for teachers.

        The play is directed by FMU theatre professor D. Keith Best, with set/light design by professor David Granath and costume design by professor Abby Wurster.

        The cast and crew of the play, by hometown, are:

Columbia: Dwayne Malcolm (assistant director)

Darlington: Erin Lamz (Grace)

Florence: Barika McCall (Kristi)

Hartsville: Melissa Bjorgen (Dotty)

Marion: DeJuan Conner (Murray)

Pawleys Island: Vince Triana (stage manager)

Walterboro: Andrew Cogswell (Victor)


Mitchellville, Md.: Damien Ruffner (Woody)

#132 / 2-9-06
Last Published: February 15, 2007 9:34 AM
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