By George Spelvin

DEFYING GRAVITY, Jane Anderson’s ethereal play directed by Dr. John O’Connor, opened in Wallman Hall Theatre Friday evening.  Using the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster and the death of teacher in space, Christa McAuliff to organize the action, the play centers around McAuliff’s daughter before and after the disaster and other characters associated with the event.  The play then becomes one about character relationships -- McAuliff and her daughter, a tourist couple and a Cape Canaveral bar owner/waitress and a NASA mechanic.  One additional character, the impressionist painter Claude Monet, also appears to “challenge” the characters and the audience to think about how we look at things.

The script thus becomes a mosaic of scenes that director O’Connor and the design team must lead the audience through for everything to make sense.  This “challenge” is ably met by this production team.  Staged on a set designed by Troy Snyder who also designed the lighting, and multimedia effects by Nick LeJeune, the atmosphere emphasizes the ethereal which is further reinforced by the sound design and original music by Dr. Daniel Eichenbaum.

The cast numbers seven actors and is lead by the “teacher” and her daughter Elizabeth played by Lillian Gaylord and Ann Marie Witkowski respectively.  Claude Monet is played by Stephen Phillips.  The tourists from Oregon who watch the launch are played by Kate Thompson and Allen Ludwick and John Hall and Kiya Fitzgerald portray the Cape Canaveral folks.

DEFYING GRAVITY continues this week with performances at 7:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 7, 8 and 9.  Tickets may be purchased at the box office, 11:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday, or by calling (304) 367-4240.  Tickets may also be purchased on line by going to www.fairmontstate.edu/tickets.

FSUNow Stories

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts will present a Benefit Concert for the Marion County Child Advocacy Center on Sunday, Aug. 2.

The concert will take place at 4 p.m. in Wallman Hall Theatre. All proceeds benefit the Marion County CAC. Admission is $4 per person and will be collected at the door.

For more information, contact Leigh Anne Bolyard, Director of the FSU Academy for the Arts, at (304) 333-3655.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

You could call the Town & Gown Players theatre trailblazers. When Fairmont State launched its summer theatre program in the summer of 1960, it was the first of its kind in West Virginia.

Jo Ann Lough and Lawrence Wallman of the Fairmont State (then College) Department of Speech and Dramatics led the launch of the Players that began with one production that year, the hit British comedy “The Reluctant Debutante,” directed by Lough.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts recognized students for their scholarship at the Academic Awards Ceremony at the end of the spring 2015 semester.

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