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

FSUNow Stories

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Fairmont State University Department of Music is announces its 2015-2016 Music on the Hill concert season, featuring four performances on the Fairmont State campus and at First Presbyterian Church in Fairmont.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

The Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts announces the cast of its second Youth Company production, “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.” 

“Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.” will run Nov. 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Wallman Hall Theatre on the main campus.

Cast members for the show are as follows: Paige Krcek, Billy Tobin, Jocelyn Maxwell, Sophia Flower, Trenda Ridgeway, Jasper Brown, Rileigh Fortney, Sidney Apanowicz, Sara Campbell, Miranda Koch, Sydney King, Caroline Maxwell, Marianna Jones, Bella Smith, Franchesca Aloi. 

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced on Sept. 16 the awarding of $763,044 in grant funds to support and build the arts in community and statewide programs across West Virginia.

Fairmont State University was awarded a $6,206 grant in support of bringing the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra to the Fairmont campus for two performances. Dr. Christina Lavorata, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Robert Mild, Interim Dean of the School of Fine Arts, attended the event in Charleston to officially receive the grant award.

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