Morality play 'Major Barbara' on stage at HCC

Curtain rises at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Curtain rises at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

December 07, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

In order to become Andrew Undershaft, student actor Caleb Lovelady has to learn to be a jerk.

He must think selfishly. Smoking cigars, one of the props, before rehearsal also helps, though Lovelady, a 20-year-old actor with the Robinwood players, is a non-smoker.

"It's what Andrew Undershaft would have done," Lovelady said last week - cigar in hand - just before a dress rehearsal for the Robinwood Players' production of "Major Barbara," an early 20th-century play by George Bernard Shaw.

"Major Barbara" premieres at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater on Friday, Dec. 8; a second showtime will be Saturday, Dec. 9.


The story is about Barbara Undershaft, a defiant, idealistic daughter of a money-hungry munitions tycoon. Barbara joins the Salvation Army and becomes romantically involved with a Greek scholar named Adolphus, who accepts a high-paying job from Barbara's father. Ultimately, Adolphus must choose between doing right morally and doing right financially.

"With all these questions on religion and political freedom, Shaw was breaking the mold," Lovelady said, "You can always apply it to this generation."

HCC music and drama instructor Joe Marschner leads the student cast and production team. Marschner said the production's greatest challenge was successfully conveying on stage the subtle nuances of Shaw's dry humor and social critique, which is difficult to notice by simply reading the script.

"We need to see more Shaw," Marschner said. "The things he was arguing in the early 20th century are the things we need to be talking about today."

In order to bolster the play's message, the show's technical director, Jason Buhrman, opted for a conceptual unit set for the play's three acts.

There are few walls, and doors on stage are presented in a wall-less frame. The few walls on set are painted in tones of gray, black and white - symbolic of the characters' having to navigate the gray areas of doing right or wrong, Buhrman said.

"We wanted to go more abstract to let the language and the dialogue really punch home," Buhrman said.

Robinwood Players is the theater company for HCC. Students participating in the college's theater classes were involved in the show's production, Marschner said.

For ticket information, call 301-790-2800, ext. 271.

If you go ...

WHAT: "Major Barbara," presented by the Robinwood Players

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9.

WHERE: Kepler Theater, Hagerstown Community College, off Robinwood Drive.

COST: $7. Tickets are available at the HCC bookstore or at the door the night of the show.

MORE: Call 301-790-2800, ext. 271

'Major Barbara' cast In order of appearance ...

Lady Britomart Undershaft - Erica Pastwa

Stephen Undershaft - Kenni Melby

Morrison - Britney Smith

Barbara Undershaft - Tricia Babbie

Sarah Undershaft - Pareesa Nikpourfard

Charles Lomax - Chris Brewer

Adoldhus Cusins - Jesse Pendergraft

Andrew Undershaft - Caleb Lovelady

Rummy Mitchens - Karen Dunn

Snobby Price - Rob Apgar

Jenny Hill - Brett Smith

Peter Shirley - Patrick Squibb

Bill Walker - Allen Law

Mrs. Baines - Barbi Barvir

Bilton - Lindsay Beattie

Production Supervisor - Chelsea Lundgren

Production Stage Manager - Joan Thurmond

Assistant Production Stage Manager - Katie Norris

Dramaturg - Sandy Calhoun

Technical Liason - Grant Pinkham

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