‘Spoon River’ comes to life on Carson stage
Literature rarely makes it to the stage. Somehow the media don’t mix well, perhaps because one is a time art, the other static.
Carson Country theater lovers have a chance this weekend to see an example of how literature and theater mix well.
Carson Performing Arts performs Edgar Lee Masters’ classic, “Spoon River Anthology.” Written in 1914 and 1915, the original is a poem in which dead residents of the fictional village of Spoon River, Ill., return from the grave to comment on the hopes and fears of their lives and Spoon River itself. Written in free verse, it creates a feeling of the beauty of life, in Midwestern America and Anyplace.
The poem takes place in the graveyard. The characters come to the center of the stage and tell of their happinesses and rejections. Intertwined is folk music and simple dances, adding a new dimension to the poem.
Director Karen Chandler said, “This is actually the second time I have directed this piece, the first being over 10 years ago for the Proscenium Players.
“When I look for pieces for my advanced students to perform, I search for good roles for large numbers of young actors and something that will have relevance as well.
“This play really grabs hold of its ensemble cast. We have discussed at length why this poem of this nature still has a valid message today. Though the ‘dead’ characters of the poem lived from 1860 through the early 20th century, the basic humanity they fought for through life is still relevant in today’s world.”
The actors have embraced the many differences of their characters, while maintaining a strong unity when interpreting the play’s message, Chandler said. “Each actor plays at least two or three different ‘souls’ with vast age ranges, cultural and philosophical differences,” she said
There are 200 short poems in the play.
The production is at the Bob Boldrick Theater stage. The main curtain will be closed, with platform seating erected on the stage.
“It will provide more seats and a vastly more comfortable setting than the Black Box Theater at the school,” Chandler said.
The format will also accommodate the large cast and a more extensive scenic design, she said.
“Plus, it’s exciting to introduce the actors and the community to the variety that can be achieved in live theater through creative use of space and imagination,” she said.
Clearly, imagination will rule the “Spoon River Anthology” this and next weekend.
Celeste Stapley and Valerie McCraw – house crew
Lora McComb – stage manager
Ashley Bradshaw – lights
Ashley Glover – sound
Ann Libby and Karen Chandler — musicians
IF YOU GO
What: “Spoon River Anthology”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Jan. 17 and 18; 2 p.m. Sunday, 3 p.m. Jan. 16
Where: Carson Community Center’s Bob Boldrick Theater stage, 851 E. William St.
Admission: Tickets $6 for general admission, $5 for seniors and students and $4 for Carson High School students. There is no late seating. Call 283-1684.