Poetry-driven play comes to FMU

Lindsay Buchanan, Senior Writer

Francis Marion’s Theatre Department will be presenting Edgar Lee Master’s “Spoon River Anthology” this month at the Hyman Fine Arts Center on campus.

From Oct. 21 to 23 interested theatre lovers can escape in this poetry-driven play that explores the individual lives of those “long dead” in a fictional town called Spoon River. The play will be directed by Glen Gourley, who is a fine arts, theatre arts and speech-directing professor at FMU.

“‘Spoon River Anthology’ is a respected piece of American poetry,” Gourley said. “This play is an adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’ poetry and is considered to be a vital piece of American literature.”

Gourley said this type of play, which is a monologue drama, is different than others he has directed in the past since the cast members do not have interaction with one another during the play. According to Gourley, the lack of dialogue between characters in the play creates a challenge for everyone involved, but the roles available offer more opportunity to students to improve their acting skills as they are solely responsible for engaging the audience.

“I had seen a production of Edgar Lee Masters’ ‘Spoon River Anthology’ in graduate school and was not particularly excited about what I had experienced,” Gourley said. “I wanted to take the play and the challenge of seeing if the cast, my fellow professors [the designers] and I could make this a production which would engage an audience in ways that I had not been engaged when I saw the play back in graduate school.”

Anyone can reserve free tickets to see “Spoon River Anthology” beginning on Oct. 11 by calling the box office at (843) 661-1365 between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Curtain call is at 7:30 p.m.

The Theatre Department will have a winter production directed by Dawn Larsen called “The Fourth Wall.” The play was written by A.R. Gurney and will run Feb. 17 to 19, 2011. The department’s spring production will be a series of International One Act Plays directed by Keith Best from April 7 to 8, 2011. These one act plays will also have a special showing on April 9 during the Arts International Festival held at FMU.