Original Production Comes to Wallman Hall Theatre

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Fairmont State University department of communication and theatre arts is excited to present “Voices Realigned: Rewind, Revisit, and Remember” an original theatre production. The play will be performed in the Wallman Hall Theatre on the campus of Fairmont State on April 26, 27, and 28 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 304-367-4240.

“Voices Realigned: Rewind, Revisit, and Remember” is the result of a 5-year research project, conducted by Dr. Francene Kirk, the Abelina Suarez professor of communication and theatre.  Dr. Kirk interviewed 30 women who were age 60 and older to learn more about their lives.  “This project was prompted by a memory I have of my mother.  She once told me that she didn’t have the options I had.  As a communication teacher, I wanted to know what messages the women of my mother’s generation received about being a woman.  As a theatre artist, I wanted to bring their stories to life on the stage,” said Dr. Kirk.

The play takes place backstage during a university production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  The audience will hear lines from the play; however, the main action is the conversations and conflicts of the actors backstage.  Some of the backstage conflict is typical of amateur theatre productions.  For example, upperclassman Leo, played by Dino Vergura, is threatened by newcomer Doug, played by Ben Gillespie.  Lainey Loughery plays Shae, a character who complains about the role she was cast in while hinting at the director’s favoritism toward some actors.  In the middle of the chaos, the director, played by Beverly Slagle, is contemplating retirement. The usual backstage chatter turns serious when Cecile, played by Karlee Edmonds, falls ill in middle of the show.  

The stories from Dr. Kirk’s interviews are heard through flashbacks and dream sequences.  Many of these sequences were created last year when Dr. Kirk and her students performed “Women’s Voices” using the same material. Ashley Doyle, a freshman theatre and English education major said, “It brings the past to the present.  Some of the issues the cast members are dealing with are some of the same issues talked about in the flashbacks. Interestingly, not much has actually changed.” Furthermore, the cast of “Voices Realigned: Rewind, Revisit, and Remember” are faced with a unique challenge.  The rehearsal process for most plays begins with a script, but the process for “Voices Realigned: Rewind, Revisit, and Remember” began with transcripts from interviews.  “The process is exhilarating, but also a little scary,” said Kelli Cooper, a sophomore theatre education major.  “Every night we come up with new ideas.  When an idea hits, we get so excited,” she said. Cooper is among the 14 students, faculty, and community members working on “Voices Realigned: Rewind, Revisit, and Remember”. 

Other cast members include Jacklyn Kovach, Ashley Fink, Ryan McAllister, Juliana Spradling, and Tracy Evans.  As part of their capstone project for Women’s Studies, Juliana Spradling is serving as the historian for the production, and Rachel McCoy is serving as the dramaturg. 

The production touches on difficult issues such as workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. It contains adult language and themes, and is not suitable for young audiences. The play will be performed in the Wallman Hall Theatre on April 26, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, April 29 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 304-367-4240. For more information please contact Dr. Kirk at 304-367-4170 or Francene.Kirk@fairmontstate.edu.