Oct. 14, 2014 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University Theatre is proud to be selected by New York's Farm Theater as one of three universities to participate in a College Collaboration project. Last spring, the Farm Theater commissioned emerging playwright Lindsay Joy to write a new play in communication with students from Ashland University, Centre College and Clark University. All three universities will produce the original script throughout this academic year with Ashland presenting the premiere performance of "In the Event of My Death," directed by AU Assistant Professor of Theatre Scott Hudson.
Performances are scheduled for Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 1, 6, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. With the performances staged in Hugo Young Theatre, patrons should note that the seating is on stage for this production which limits the number of seats available and advance purchase is recommended. The audience should also note that the script does contain adult language and content.
The college collaboration began last February when the playwright interviewed the students about how they experience and express life changing events as well as their relationship and opinion of current social media. Joy took responses from all three schools and combined them with her own impressions along with her own experience of personal news of tragic events through social media. The result focuses on today’s twenty-somethings experiencing tragic loss dealt by violent betrayal. Her story is one that some have personally lived through and that all hope never to experience.
Throughout the rehearsal process, the cast has raised questions about their characters to the playwright which activated adjustments, edits and tweaks in the script. The students have invested greatly in this process as explained by director Hudson, "We have journeyed over the past ten months to inspire, mentor and discipline one another in the art of a new work. We will continue this process well into the next year with the theatre departments of Centre College and Clark University, as they too will further develop this play. This collaboration binds us in a rich, wide and long lasting community of those committed to excellence in the education and profession of American Theatre."
Set in present day in a small town in western Pennsylvania, eight friends from high school are deeply broken hearted, angry and confused over the tragic sudden loss of their loved one who took his own life only a few days ago. Only Brianna, played by sophomore musical theatre major Ceyanna Stasick (Sullivan, Ohio), seems to understand Freddie's reasoning of suicide was a personal and private matter. The others including the quick-witted Amber, Connor and Trevor, played respectively by junior theatre major Natalyn Baisden (Wooster, Ohio) and senior theatre majors Mason Adams (South Amherst, Ohio) and De'Andre Peterson (Garfield Heights, Ohio), experience a sense of guilt. From the introverted and vulnerable Peter played by senior theatre major Nick Seemann (Bath, Ohio) to Becky, the former prom queen, played by sophomore musical theatre major Eryn Reynolds Tramel (Medina, Ohio), all of the characters deeply need the respect, validation, affirmation and comfort of each other whether found through direct bluntness from Meg, played by junior intervention specialist major Alyssa Angie (Russell, Ohio), or the open consideration of Kate, played by sophomore integrated language major Ariel McCleary (Stow, Ohio).
The production's set and lighting are designed by Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Scenic Designer Jason Coale with sophomore Kayla Gowdy (Hebron, Ohio) as the assistant lighting designer. Assistant Professor of Theatre and Resident Costume Designer Sarah Russell designed the costumes while Technical Director J. Michael Desper is the sound designer with senior Benjamin Isaiah Black (Akron, Ohio) as assistant sound designer. Freshman education major Rebecca Lyman (Avon Lake, Ohio) is the show's stage manager.
Since the show is premiered at Ashland, several special events surround the performances including a post-show reception on opening night, Oct. 30, with special guests playwright Lindsay Joy and The Farm Theatre's artistic director Padraic Lillis. Joy and Lillis will then present a talk back after the performance on Oct. 31, discussing the college collaboration process and creation of the script. On Friday, Nov. 7, at 6:45 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre, the "Inside the Season" pre-show talk for “In the Event of My Death” will be led by the show’s director Scott Hudson. All special events are free and open to the public.
Single tickets for the performances are: $12 for adult; $10 for senior citizens, AU faculty, staff and alumni; $8 for groups of 10 or more, $5 for non-AU students, and $2 for Ashland University students with ID.
To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m.; or purchase online 24/7 at www.ashland.edu/tickets. For more information about the department of theatre, visit www.ashland.edu/theatre, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandUniversityTheatre or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###