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School Department News

Theatre and Communication

Monday, November 10, 2014 - 1:36pm
The William Carey University Theatre will present “Adventures from Aesop’s Fables,” adapted by Jeanna Graves and Deanna Graves, on December 11-12 at 7 p.m. and December 13 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Joe and Virginia Tatum Theatre.
 
The play takes 13 of Aesop’s 284 morality stories and presents them for children. Morals include “Honesty is the best policy,” “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” “There are two sides to every story” and “Real friends are faithful in good times and bad.”
 
Most members of the cast play multiple roles. Actors include Amanda Campbell of Picayune; Nadia Trinanes of Hattiesburg; Taylor Abbott of Picayune; Billy Burkes of Meridian; Branden Lindsey of Greenville, S.C.; Xavier Martin of Hattiesburg; Joey Roderick of Blue Ridge, Ga.; Rebekah Romack of Poplarville; and Ashlyn Watts of Picayune. The actors portray a variety of animal and human characters from Aesop’s tales, including The Tortoise and The Hare, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Grasshopper and The Ants, and The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse.
 
The production is entirely student designed.  “The student designers are mentored by their peers,” said O. L. Quave, director of the play and professor emeritus at WCU. “The students collaborate to bring Aesop’s world to life. The sets, masks, lights and sound create this world as if seen through a child’s eyes.”
 
Dewey Douglas of the theatre faculty is technical director. Douglas and Tim Matheny, chair of the Department of Theatre and Communication, are faculty mentors for students. Scenic designer is Miranda Rester of Oak Grove. The costume designer is Xavier Martin. Amanda Campbell is lighting designer and the sound designer is Taylor Abbott. Makeup designer is Rebekah Romack. The student designers are mentored by upperclassmen Billy Burkes, Joey Roderick, Chris Permenter of Oak Grove and Ashlyn Watts. Logan McCarty of Hattiesburg is rehearsal assistant. 
 
“Because the actors are playing multiple roles, the use of masks and other elements are important to bringing the animals to life,” said Jeanna Graves. “It’s like watching a pop-up book come to life. We want our audience, especially the children, to have their imaginations inspired.”
 
The box office opens Monday, December 8 and is open from 1 until 4 p.m. daily. Reservations can be made by calling 601-318-6221. Tickets are $5 each.
Friday, October 24, 2014 - 8:30am
Tim Matheny, chair of the Department of Theatre and Communication and assistant professor of theatre at William Carey University, was recently named the university’s 2014 Humanities Teacher of the Year.
 
As part of the award, Matheny presented a lecture entitled “The Power of Theatre: A Look into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Theatre’s Influence on Modern and Historical Societies” at WCU on October 23.
 
Matheny, of Petal, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre and performance from William Carey College in 1995 and his Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre performance from the University of Louisville in 1999. He returned to WCU in 2000 to work as faculty, serving from 2000-2005. He spent three years working with the International Mission Board (IMB) in Russia and the Czech Republic before returning to WCU in 2008.
 
He is a seasoned performer and director, having worked with the popular Carey Dinner Theatre (CDT) beginning in 1994. He has also worked with Mosaic Productions in Moscow, Russia; the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera; and the Louisville Repertory Company. At WCU, he has directed The Diviners, All My Sons and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, as well as the CDT performances of Route 66, The Taffetas and Cotton Patch Gospel. His original play, Beginnings, co-written with Jeanna Graves, and his adaptations of Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest have premiered at WCU. In 2013, he directed a short play that was performed at the IMB’s commissioning service in Hattiesburg.
 
Matheny has served on committees with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and was named chair of the college/university division of the Mississippi Theatre Association in 2012. He is a member of Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society.
 
A faculty member from each higher learning institution in the state is selected for the Humanities Teacher of the Year honor each year by the Mississippi Humanities Council, a nonprofit corporation with the goal of sponsoring, supporting and conducting a wide range of programs designed to promote understanding of our cultural heritage, interpret our own experience, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, strengthen our sense of community and empower Mississippi's people with a vision for the future.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 1:56pm

The William Carey University Theatre will present Tony Award winning playwright Mary Zimmerman’s “Scenes from Argonautika” (The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts) October 9 through 11 and 16 through 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe and Virginia Tatum Theatre.

Zimmerman tells this classic saga with a contemporary twist, combining humor and drama, transforming this Greek adventure. The story begins with adventure seeking sailors of the ship Argo following their leader Jason (Joey Roderick of Blue Ridge, GA). Encountering an array of daunting challenges in their “first voyage of the world,” Jason and his mighty crew press on in their quest for the Golden Fleece. Argonauts include Meleager (Xavier Martin of Hattiesburg); Idmon (Branden Lindsay of Greenville, S.C.); Tiphys (Logan McCarty of Hattiesburg); Castor (Justin Taylor Abbott of Picayune); Atalanta (Rebekah Romack of Poplarville); Hercules (Billy Burkes of Meridian); and Hylas (Nicoli Hutchison of Picayune). Gods, goddesses, nymphs, and Kings are Amycus (Chris Permenter of Oak Grove); King Aeetes (Burkes); King Dymas (Hutchison); Hera (Miranda Rester of Oak Grove); Athena (Amanda Campbell of Picayune); Medea and Dryope (Nadia Trinanes of Hattiesburg); Andromeda and Eros (Haley Genberg of Warren, PA); and Aphrodite (Ashlyn Watts of Picayune). 

Based on the third century Greek epic, “Argonautika” explores a world where magic rules the everyday lives of those passionate enough to seek adventure. This is a world where gods laugh in the face of mortal promises like the one King Pelias makes, “Think of it Jason, to sail so far beyond where anyone has ever sailed… and when you return, covered in glory this kingdom shall be yours.” 

The production is directed by Tim Matheny, chair of the theatre and communication department. Dewey Douglas of the theatre faculty is technical director for student designers. Scenic designers are Chris Permenter and Jana Barkley of Picayune. The costume designers are Permenter and Ashlyn Watts. Barkley and Billy Burkes are lighting designers, and the sound designers are Joey Roderick and Burkes. Makeup and properties designers are Watts and Haley Genberg. Barkley also is lightboard operator and Sawyer Walters of Hattiesburg is sound board operator. Stage hands are Johonna Bush of Foxworth; Karlie Buss of Hilltop Lakes, TX; and Dana Buckley of Gulfport.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for military and senior citizens, and $5 for students. Reservations can be made by calling 601-318-6221. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning October 6.

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 4:54pm

Hattiesburg, MS, June 30, 2014 - William Carey University’s Carey Dinner Theatre will present the popular country music-themed comedy “Pump Boys and Dinettes” July 8-19 in the Joe and Virginia Tatum Theatre.

Set in a diner and gas station on Hwy 57 half way between Smyrna and Frog Level, Georgia, “Pump Boys and Dinettes” tells the story of four “good ole boys” and two sassy waitresses as they describe life on their stretch of highway. Jackson (Jason Piglia of Picayune), L.M. (Ben Salters of Ocean Springs), Eddie (Joey Roderick of Blue Ridge, GA), and Jim (Kevar Maffitt of Olive Branch), Prudie (Jordan Dobbins of Florence, AL), and Rhetta (Olivia Broome of Carson) bring L.M.’s Garage and the Double Cupp Diner to life with award winning songs such as “Be Good or Be Gone,” “Farmer Tan,” and “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine.”

Featuring pianist Tae Young Hong of Seoul, South Korea, the play uses a variety of instrumentalists including Allison Gilliard of Tallahassee, FL, on fiddle, Piglia on drums and bass, Roderick on guitar and bass, and Salters on bass. Even kitchen utensils are utilized as percussion.

Conceived and written by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann, the show moved from off-Broadway to Broadway, where it received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical of 1982. It would finish its run after more than 570 performances and enjoy a revival in 2011. Critics have deemed the show “a fantastic slice of Americana,” and the New York Post says that it is “totally terrific.”

Tim Matheny of the WCU theatre and communication faculty directs the 19 song show and Melissa Beauvais, adjunct dance instructor, choreographs the country music-themed show. The musical director is Howard Keever, professor of music theory at WCU. The design team includes technical director and set designer Cody Stockstill of the Mississippi State University faculty; lighting designer Chris Wooten; and costume designer Kelly James-Penot of the University of Southern Mississippi faculty. The tech crew includes costume design assistant Rebecca Traylor of Vicksburg, and technicians Gabby D’Arcangelo of Olive Branch; Allison Gilliard; Andrew Malone of Hattiesburg; Michaela Moore of Biloxi; Sean Murphy of Ocean Springs; Joey Roderick; Caitlyn Shows of Carriere; and Michele Walker of Madison.

“This is the perfect show for a venue like Carey Dinner Theatre,” says managing director Obra Quave. “Our audience receives a unique dining encounter by being served their meal by the cast and crew and, with the musical already set in a diner, the audience becomes part of the experience.”

The box office is open daily from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and reservations can be made by calling (601) 318-6221. Tickets are $29 and include buffet meal, sales tax and show.