SHU Theatre Arts Presents: Spoon River Anthology

What does it mean to live a life?

This is the question posed by Charles Adman’s Spoon River Anthology, a story based on a series of poems by Edgar Lee Masters.

The play is a series of epitaphs of the members of Spoon River. And this Spring, the Sacred Heart University Theatre Arts Program’s production stars Patrick Robinson, Katherine Horne, Jordan Norkus and Liam O’Donnell brought the show to us. 

As you walk into the Little Theatre, you are welcomed to the Spoon River cemetery. The audience is invited to sit on the stage, and be a part of the show by being one of the dead residents of Spoon River. Adding to the spooky feel of the set are bare tree branches and candles hanging from the ceiling.

The cast talks directly to the audience throughout the show, which really makes you feel like you're there. One thing you must know about the show is that it’s told as series of monologues rather than a traditional narrative. Each cast member plays upwards of twenty roles. The only thing distinguishing the different characters is the monologues themselves, since the cast sits on the stage for the entirety of the show. The transition of characters is marked either with music from the live guitarist, or the sound of whistling wind.

Occasionally, the other cast members will become characters in each other’s narratives. Sometimes, rather than monologues or simple music, the cast will sing songs. Most of these pieces weren’t originally written for the show, but they feel like they were since they perfectly fit the show's theme. 

Despite the show being set in the cemetery and being about the dead, it surprisingly included some funny moments. The show runs for approximately one hour and forty minutes, which includes a ten-minute intermission.

After the show, I spoke with cast member Katherine Horne:  

“I play approximately seventeen characters throughout the show,” she said. “My favorite to play would be Ms. Sibley, while the most challenging to play would have to be Elsa Wortnan.”

“Even though all of these characters were so unique, we were able to play these parts by finding the truth and human in all of them.”

Spoon River Anthology is directed by Jerry Goehring, assistant directed by Junior Zachary Lane, produced by Freshman Justin Weigel, and stage-managed by Sophomore Matt Henshaw. The show runs in the Little Theatre from March 16 - 19th, and 23 - 26th. Preformances held Thursday - Saturday begin at 8pm, while Sunday shows begin at 3pm. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to get yours in advance so you don’t miss this beautiful show. Please call the box office or visit the Edgerton Center for more information about tickets and other upcoming shows!