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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fairmont State University will host the inaugural West Fork New Music Festival on campus on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sept. 13. Guest composers and performers from West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania will attend.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts is accepting registrations for fall classes and private lessons in art, music and theatre. Classes and lessons begin the week of Sept. 2.

For schedules, dates, registration forms, prices and instructor information, click here  or call Academy Director Leigh Anne Bolyard at (304) 333-3655. Find the Academy on Facebook at Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts. 

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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts and Town & Gown theatre group announce open auditions for “Sleepy Hollow,” an original musical written by Jim Christian and Tom Edward Clark.  The story is inspired by “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the classic American short story written by Washington Irving. The production is directed by Francene Kirk; the music director is R.J. Nestor, and the choreographer is Susan Cato. 

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