By George Spelvin
The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts and Masquers opened THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE this past weekend. In two words, this production is “way cute.” The story revolves around six adolescent contestants who are finalist who are seen spelling words as well as revealing their adolescent angst. The adolescent issues are varied from the student who is in the gay/straight alliance trying to spell well to please her two dads, to the young man who experiences during the competition every pubescent boy’s worst nightmare and embarrassment. “Spelling Bee” is thoroughly a comedy and the auditorium was filled with laughter throughout the evening.
The contestants are stereotypically drawn and not likely to be in the yearbook as the “most likely to . . .” other than be a good speller. The other characters are treated in a similar manner-- every small town has a few of these and the audience will recognize them immediately. It all works because everyone is created in a good naturedly manner and the actors are up to the challenge of not letting their characters cross over that line.
Director Troy Snyder and Musical Director R. J. Nestor have prepared the cast well. The action takes place on a handsome public school gymnasium setting created by student Jenn Scholtz and the story action is kept clear between current “bee” activity and contestant inner thoughts or flashbacks by attractive lighting by Todd O. Wren. Characters are aptly costumed by Sasha Bohon to fit their stereotype. In all, the production runs smoothly much to the credit of the students responsible.
THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAME COUNTY SPELLING BEE is not to be missed. The production continue this week, Wednesday through Saturday, the 26th through the 29th all at 7:30 PM. Reserved Seat tickets are $13.00 each and Fairmont State and Pierpont students get one free ticket with their ID. Reservations may be made by calling the box office at (304) 367-4240 or in person at the box office, M-F 12:00 to 3:30 or approximately one hour prior to a performance.