Salisbury area residents could attend 23 plays and see many rising stars within just one week if they had the time. They’ll have that opportunity November 2 through 6 thanks to two North Carolina theatre festivals and a state theatre conference being hosted by Catawba College and a community theatre festival hosted by Piedmont Players. All of the festivals’ productions are open to the public and although admission is free, a donation of $5 per performance is suggested.
N.C. American College Theatre Festival
The N.C. American College Theatre Festival runs November 2-6 with a daily production offered by five state colleges and universities at Hedrick Little Theatre on Catawba’s campus. Catawba College students kick off the festival with their production of "A New Brain" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2. Students from Wingate University offer "Interview" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, while N.C. A&T University students present "Crowns" at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. At 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, Winston Salem State University students present "The Heart of Him," and High Point University students wrap up the week with a 10 a.m. production of "Medea" Saturday, Nov. 6.
Following are brief synopses of the five aforementioned productions:
"A New Brain" by William Finn – This one-of-a-kind musical is about losing your mind, or more accurately your brain. The main character Gordon Schwinn writes songs for a children’s television show and is under intense deadline pressure from his tyrannical boss to write a new song when he has a life- threatening aneurysm. Supported by his family—a loving mother, male lover and female best friend—the show chronicles his experience and its effects. Through mixing hospital lingo, heart and music, the audience learns valuable life lessons from a dancing frog.
"Interview" by Jean Claude van Itallie – The "Interview" takes an obscure look at American life and humanity, and examines the manner in which a superficial, self-centered society can dehumanize its citizens. The "Interview" is comprised of eight actors, four interviews, and four applicants. The characters go through a series of job interviews consisting of noticeable hostility and socioeconomic awareness, as well as an exploration of everyday events that prove to be stressful in contemporary society.
"Crowns" by Regina Taylor – "Our crowns have been bought and paid for, all we have to do is wear them." This phrase encompasses a world in which young Yolanda, a street-wise kid from Brooklyn, steps into this play about a young girl who is sent to live with her grandmother after her older brother is murdered. The concept of "Crowns," a multi-scene, one-act play, comes from photographs of African-American women attending church, taken by Michael Cunningham, and from the oration of Craig Marberry. The tradition of wearing elaborate hats dates back to Africa and slavery in the United States. As the protagonist, Yolanda, is looking for answers concerning the death of her brother, she finds the acceptance of leagues of ladies from the church who help her to encompass the word of God, and find peace within herself.
"The Heart of Him" is a musical production, which in five acts examines heartburn, heart attack, heart failure, and heart beat. It incorporates literature, dance and music to paint portraiture of the human heart in mild to severe pain, at work and under duress.
"Medea," by Euripides – Medea is the story of a woman who has been betrayed by her husband, and seeks to extract revenge against him. She was forced to leave her father and her home in order to be with her husband Jason. In response to her sacrifices, he falls in love with the daughter of Creon, the king of Corinth. Discovering this, Creon exiles her to prevent her rage from allowing her to bring harm to her children. Through a series of piteous overthrows, tragedy is brought onto all of those involved in Medea’s life. This story follows the old adage, "Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned."
N.C. High School Theatre Festival
North Carolina students from 16 different high schools hit the stage in Keppel Auditorium at Catawba beginning Thursday, Nov. 4 to offer hour-long, one-act productions during the N.C. High School Theatre Festival. Again, these productions are free and open to the public.
Thursday, Nov. 4
6 p.m. – "How to Eat Like a Child," Independence High School
7 p.m. – "Fear," The Cannon School
8 p.m. – "Going to School," Watauga High School
9 p.m. – "Helpless Doorknobs," Hendersonville High School
Friday, Nov. 5
9 a.m. – "This is a Test," E.A. Laney High School
10 a.m. – "Property Rites," Hoggard High School
11 a.m. – "The Beggar’s Opera," David W. Butler High School
noon – " ’dentity Crisis," East Henderson High School
2 p.m. – "The Most Massive Woman Wins," Pinecrest High School
3 p.m. – "Piece of My Heart, C.E. Jordan High School
4 p.m. – "The Winner," Lake Norman High School
5 p.m. – "The Medium" Hopewell High School
Saturday, Nov. 6
3 p.m. – "The Rimers of Eldritch," South Mecklenburg High School
4 p.m. – "The Smell of the Kill," Southwest Guilford High School
5 p.m. – "Sweet Charity," Shelby High School
6 p.m. – "The Arkansaw Bear," Hoggard High School
American Association of Community Theatre
The Piedmont Players will host two productions at the Meroney Theatre in downtown Salisbury as part of the AACT Fest Nov. 5 and 6. The St. Thomas Players of Salisbury present "Trouble in Mind: Three One-Acts of Harold Pinter" at 8:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5. Players from Haywood Regional Theatre in Waynesville present "Coyote on a Fence at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. These productions are also free and open to the public.
N.C. Theatre Conference
The North Carolina Theatre Conference hosted by Catawba Nov. 2-6 serves the state by improving and enhancing the environment for quality theatre. The theatre community, including professionals, community theatre participants, educational theatre practitioners, colleges and universities from all over the state, come together in the fall of each year for a week of performances, auditions, workshops, professional development, networking and social events. Conference attendees may choose to participate in sessions as diverse as "From the Outside In: Physicalizing Character Through the Movement Score," "Basic Make-up for High School Theatre," "How to Fund a Theatre Education," "Stage Combat," "Professional Theatre Roundtable," "Variety Arts: Juggling, Balances, Rola Bola, and Plate Spinnning," "Found Theatre: Adapting Text to Performance," "Auditioning at SETC," "Outreach and Your Bottom Line," and more. Walk-in registration is available for the conference with Keppel Auditorium Lobby as the site of Hospitality and Information. For more details, including how to register please call 704- 637-4481.