Thursday, March 22, 2012

Intelligent Entertainment at Vol State

Laurin Wilson and Sheleah Gardner perform in Well
Photo by Shellie Leach
Sit down, lean back, buckle-up, and enjoy the ride.  Vol State is finishing out this week with Lisa Kron's play Well. It covers a number of issues dealing with social challenges.  Couched in the form of a play about physical sickness, it gives the audience a snapshot of the destructive power of unhealthy social surroundings.
Racial tensions, family problems, and pride are exposed and dealt with in a way that is "life changing," according to theater student Summer Powers.  “I play two characters, Joy and Dottie,” she said.  “The audience will walk away with a better knowledge of what happened in the 50s and 60s as a result of racial segregation.  I knew a little about the history, but until I studied this play I didn’t really understand.  It helped me to realize how different it was, and how awful.  I think this is one of the more influential performances that we have put on because it is such an important part of history.  There are six actors for seventeen parts with a lot of costume changes.  That makes it fun.”
Sheleah Gardner is studying law and plays the role of Ann.  “This is an amazing story.  The reason I can relate to it is I grew up in Detroit, not that far from Lansing where the play takes place, and I remember bathrooms being colored and white, and we were not allowed to swim in the same pool or use the same drinking fountains.  It was a horrible time, and this is an underlying theme in this play.  The context of the term Well comes from a daughter who sees her mother as a hypochondriac.”
The part of Lisa Kron is played by student, Laurin Wilson.  “It’s something I have always wanted to do,” said Wilson.  “I started acting when I was young, and it’s been a great outlet.  This has been a challenging performance, and there is a lot of memorization, but it’s a really interesting play.  You have comedy with a serious undertone.  On the surface you can’t see what’s going on internally, but by the end you see exactly why things are affecting my character the way they do.  
Tickets are $5 at the door. Performances start March 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and March 25 at 2:30 p.m. It will be held in the Wemyss auditorium at Caudill Hall on the campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. It is free to Vol State students, faculty and staff. For more information call 230-3201.

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