Southwest Baptist University will present “The Spoon River Project,” a joint production between SBU Theatre and the SBU Music Department, March 13-15.
Based on “The Spoon River Anthology,” a collection of poems first published by Edgar Lee Masters in 1915, this “play with music” adaptation was written by Tom Andolora. The play contains popular songs from the 19th century including “Hard Times,” “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” “In the Gloaming,” and “When You and I Were Young.”
A cast of six men and six women share the stories of dozens of characters buried in the cemetery in the fictional town of Spoon River, Ill., bringing to light secrets the rest of the town never knew.
“The students are stepping up to the challenge of playing three or more characters each. It’s a wonderful exercise for them as actors,” said Dr. Elissa Sartwell, director of SBU Theatre and assistant professor of theatre.
Many of the residents of Spoon River experienced great tragedy and heartbreak. But the play reveals that sometimes people’s secrets weren’t as secret as they thought they were.
“Everybody has secrets. In ‘The Spoon River Project’ we see some of these secrets come to light. We have to be honest with one another if we have any hope of forming a community,” Sartwell said.
Sartwell shared that the show will be staged in a thrust formation, meaning that the audience will be seated on the stage floor surrounding the actors. Because of this set-up, tickets are limited to 65 per performance.
“The Spoon River Project” is directed by Sartwell with music direction by Jane Munson-Berg, assistant professor of music, and conducted by Andrew Campbell, associate professor of music. Scenic and lighting design is led by Jonathan Wehmeyer, instructor of theatre. Costume design was done by Sartwell and choreography was done by Jeff Allen Young, recent SBU graduate.
The play is approximately 90 minutes in length. Performances will be in the Davis-Newport Theatre at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13 – Saturday, March 15 with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for alumni, senior citizens and students of other schools; and $3 for SBU students. Due to limited seating, advance ticket purchase is encouraged. You can purchase tickets at the Box Office in the Jester Learning and Performance Center or by calling (417) 328-1691.