is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dark of the Moon Will Pleasure You Through Milkin' Time

by Kim Thomas
With SummerFest 2009 now a pleasant memory, if you find yourself longing for outdoor drama, you won't have to go far to get your fix. This Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009, at 7:30 p.m., Bluegrass Community & Technical College will present Dark of the Moon at Talon Winery & Vineyards, Lexington, Kentucky.
(photos courtesy of Tom Eisenhauer)

Director/Professor Tim X. Davis is at it again. As Theatre & Film Program Coordinator at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, he is constantly finding new ways to push the proverbial envelope with his students so they can become the best they can be as artists. So it’s no surprise to find that Davis is working hard with his latest and diverse group of actors (the age of the players ranges from 20 to 60) to present Dark of the Moon. It will be presented from August 5 through August 7, and Davis states, “the cool thing is we're doing it out at Talon Winery!”

According to Davis, “The show is going to be a first for us, in that we are partnering with the Talon Winery, and the show will be presented in their barn space. Scott Sherman is designing set, and Missy Johnston is designing costumes. The cast is predominantly made up of BCTC students and faculty, with a few community members mixed in for good measure. The show runs Aug 5th-7th at 7:30 p.m.”
Davis is well known in these parts as a talented actor himself (most recently in Silas House's world premiere of Long Time Travelling presented by Actors Guild of Lexington), but he also has made his mark as an esteemed professor and director. With this show, he emphasizes the fact that BCTC is treading new ground, “as this is a first for us (and for Talon) . . . while other theatrical ventures like SummerFest have somewhat of a built-in audience, we are trying something new, somewhat without the benefit of a large portion of our normal crowd, many of whom won't be back for the start of the school year yet.”

REHEARSALS Photographer Tom Eisenhauer and I headed out to BCTC a few weeks ago to watch the rehearsal process unfold. When we arrived, the cast was busy and in the middle of the ‘church scene,’ where accusations were made from those on the mourners’ bench, and poor Barbara Allen was suffering the slings and arrows of the judgmental congregation as well as the unwanted advances from Kevin Greer’s character who was stuttering, “ . . .I was lusting for the fa-fa-fa-flesh of a married woman!” It is then revealed that this shamefully happened as they were “pleasuring ourselves until it was milkin’ time!” At that point, everyone came to their feet and shouted, "milkin' time! milkin' time!" I couldn’t help but chuckle when that scene unfolded, thinking that Tim Davis has such a great sense of humor and timing, he was ‘milking that scene for all its worth. (Yeah, I said it, I did ;-) However, Davis then explained to the group that they needed all the laughs they could get from that scene, “because as you all know, it’s so terrible at the end.” It’s interesting, too, that the entire church act (or most of it) is in rhyming text, which gives more weight to the structure of the moment, and makes your ears listen more closely. Hymns are also sung, such as “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” and that helps set the tone for this important moment in the play. Davis says that there are a number of folk songs and hymns throughout, including “Down In the Valley” and “John Williams” that help paint the text as well.

Dark of the Moon is an effort not to be missed and it is my sincere hope that all who read my little blog here will watch for more coverage of BCTC’s ambitious theatrical ventures not just this summer, but for the coming years. Davis is establishing BCTC’s theatre and film department in a way that provides great entertainment and quality education and he’s to be applauded for doing so! Go see it. Then come back here and tell me alllll about it, ‘kay?

ABOUT THE PLAY Dark of the Moon, originally written by Howard Richardson in 1939 as a dramatization of the folk song, The Ballad of Barbara Allen, it was first performed for a small audience at the University of Iowa in 1942 under the title "Barbara Allen", as a project to capture the timeless ballad of the rose and the briar in play form. It was later edited/rewritten by Richardson's cousin, William Berney, and performed on Broadway in 1945 under its current title.

The production by BCTC is a dramatic stage play in the vein of Romeo and Juliet set in the Appalachian Mountains. The play centers around the character of John, a witch boy who seeks to become human after falling in love with a human girl, Barbara Allen. Davis points out that “it is a powerful fantasy in a setting of the Smoky Mountains. When witch boy John falls in love with Barbara Allen, the superstitious townspeople resent their happiness, and their meddling ends in violence and tragedy.” It’s sort of an Appalachian Romeo and Juliet, and also speaks to the idea of mob mentality and how resistant some people are to change, which is very topical in this day and age of revolution and bold judicial appointments.

ADMISSION: General Admission $12 - Students (w/ID) $ 7

There will be 4 V.I.P. tables available with 8 seats each. This will include Admission for 8 people, seating at a table, one bottle of Talon wine, and a voucher for BCTC's fall production for each person. $120 per table. For tickets, call Talon Winery @ 971-3214

John- Zach Dearing
Barbara Allen- Katie Jo Cox
Conjur Man- James Hamblin
Conjur Woman- Kathy Swango
Dark Witch-Leah Dick
Fair Witch-Tirzah Disponett
Mrs. Allen- Marina Mora
Mr. Allen- Jeremy Gillett
Floyd Allen- J
ared Sloan
Marvin Hudgens-Kevin Greer
Preacher Haggler- Dave Dampier
Miss Metcalf-April Dunaway
Uncle Smelicue-Leif Rigney
Atkins- Art Herman
Mr. Summey-Buck Hinkle
Mrs. Summey-Nancy Dixon
Edna Summey-Megan Henke
Hank Gudger- Carlos Pelayo
Mrs. Bergen- Rachel
Heffner-Laura Burton
Greeny Gorman-Gail O'Malley
Leafy- McKenna Rigney

Stage Manager: Natalie Nicole

Director: Tim X Davis

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