Mainstage will perform “Spoon River Anthology” outdoors, public invited to attend
The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance is proud to announce that Mainstage, the theatre program’s official performing company, will be offering its first public performance since the start of the pandemic. All members of Salve Regina’s community, as well as the public, are invited to attend.
Mainstage will be putting on “Spoon River Anthology,” which will run Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. “Spoon River Anthology” is a collection of monologues from the deceased citizens of a small town written by Edgar Lee Masters. In the spirit of October and Halloween, the ghostly monologues will be performed outdoors in three different “graveyards” simultaneously around the lawn of Gerety Hall.
“There’s a whole graveyard scene that takes place in somebody’s home, and those are all monologues about marriage and raising children right,” described Dr. Tara Brooke Watkins, assistant professor of theatre and the director of the show. “The next station is a school yard or church yard, and those are all monologues about growing up, following or losing your dreams, or listening to preachers and teachers and what that does to your life. The third graveyard we’ve placed in the brothel, and those monologues are about people who are struggling with the brutalities of life.”
Audience members will move around to each graveyard as the evening progresses. The show is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. Audience members should meet at the gate at the corner of Leroy Avenue and Ochre Point Avenue to gather before the start of the show, and they will then be directed to the outdoors area of the performance. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early. Some seating will be available, but comfortable outdoor chairs and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. “Spoon River Anthology” will run just under two hours with short breaks throughout.
While “Spoon River Anthology” doesn’t have a full narrative arc, a lot of the monologues mention each other, according to Dr. Watkins. If they want to, audience members can listen and piece together story lines and relationships between the ghosts as the show progresses.
“These characters are coming back from the grave to say one thing,” explained Dr. Watkins. “Some of them are finally getting something off their chest, and other people are expressing how beautiful life is, expressing loves that they couldn’t express why they were alive.”
Salve Regina students involved in “Spoon River Anthology” are excited to be part of the show. There are 18 cast members, and each one will be playing multiple roles throughout the show while performing 4-5 monologues each.
“This is the first opportunity the Salve theatre program has had in over a year to perform without masks on,” said Skylar Lasit ’22, a theatre major with concentrations in acting and technical. “It’s a theatrical experience like no other, and it feels incredible to be doing what I love again with a group of talented and wonderful people. Tara’s vision is truly something special, and I feel honored and grateful to be a part of it.”
William (Liam) Fryer ’23, a theatre arts major, also echoed this excitement, and he loved the fact that the show will be outside—something that is rare at Salve Regina. “There is an incredible feeling that comes with telling these stories in the dark among the trees,” Fryer said. “It’s like when you would gather around a campfire and tell ghost stories. Now nature plays a role in our storytelling, too, which is very cool.”
“It feels like such a great way to get back into real theatre,” concluded Ashleigh DeAmicis ’23, who is double majoring in theatre and psychology. “With the pandemic, we’ve had to find a lot of ways to do shows without an audience. This show, however, is such an intimate experience. We get to sit with the audience, look them in the eyes and share these stories. I imagine it’s going to be an extremely cathartic experience for everyone involved.”
Mainstage will perform “Spoon River Anthology” on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. The gate at the corner of Leroy Avenue and Ochre Point Avenue is the gathering place for the start of the show, so audience members are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes early. The show is free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. Some seating will be available, but comfortable outdoor chairs and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.