03/31/05 — 'Spoon River' to be held at Wayne Community College April 14-16

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'Spoon River' to be held at Wayne Community College April 14-16

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 31, 2005 1:46 PM

The Foundation of Wayne Community College will present the play "Spoon River," at April 14-16 at 8 p.m. April 17 at 3 p.m. in Moffatt Auditorium on the college campus.

The play is based on the poetic masterpiece, "Spoon River Anthology," by Edgar Lee Masters.

In the series of poems, residents of an entire village share their loves and hates, marriages and betrayals, bitterness and joy -- told from the grave.

The poems published in 1914 and 1915 were a part of high school studies for generations.

The play's director, Rosalyn Lomax, said the 20-member cast is wonderful, including students, faculty and community members.

"I love this show," she said. She said she has wanted to do it again ever since it was performed at Wayne Community College 15 years ago with visiting artist Cynthia Mitchell.

Years after the volume of poems was published, Charles Aidman conceived of adapting some of Masters' monologues for the stage. The Broadway production opened in 1963.

"We are happy to have fiddler Malcolm Shearin as our lead musician," Ms. Lomax said. "A haunting theme song and lighter tunes will meld the monologues."

She said the fictional town of Spoon River exists in a time when people still remember Abraham Lincoln of nearby Springfield. References to Lincoln include a monologue by his first love, Anne Rutledge, played by Belinda King, and a visit to the White House from his former landlady, played by Laura Shivar.

The mystic Zilpha Marsh, played by Margaret Boothe Baddour, has visions of one of Lincoln's assassination conspirators, Mrs. Surratt. Silas Dement, played by faculty member Ray Brannon, burns the courthouse and watches the columns "where Lincoln stood" crash to the ground.

Other members of the acting ensemble include faculty member Ron Taylor and students Tessa Brannon, Michael Byrd, Byron Coley, Jessy Lamb, Susie Potter and Hon Yeung. Alumni of WCC's drama program include Michael Corbitt and Adam Williams.

Community actors Susan Bowen, Sharon Hooks, Cynthia Howard, Geoff Hulse, Craig Millard, Mary Lou Park and Jo Ann Tart complete the cast.

"Despite its graveyard setting and bitter characters, the show is not morbid," Ms. Lomax promised. "It has humorous, even hilarious, moments and uplifting themes."

English instructors Kathryn Spicer and Danny Rollins are producing the show for the Foundation. Jude Benedetto is stage manager.

Tickets will be available at the door for $5 for the general public and $2 for students and senior citizens. For information, people may call 735-5151.