Feature: THE OTHER PLACE at FOX THEATRE/Springfield

What is troubling Juliana?

By: Apr. 29, 2024
Feature: THE OTHER PLACE at FOX THEATRE/Springfield
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Feature: THE OTHER PLACE at FOX THEATRE/Springfield
Sara Wiggin as Juliana Smithton
in Sharr White's THE OTHER PLACE

Wandering a bit outside the Kansas City Metro, Broadway World had the opportunity to explore a current production running at the Fox Theatre in downtown Springfield as a co-production of Springfield Contemporary Theatre and Resident Artist Ensemble. 

The play is 2013’s THE OTHER PLACE by Sharr White, a fascinating, four actor study of one woman’s journey of discovery as she experiences unexplained changes in what should be the prime of her life. 

Broadway World spoke to THE OTHER PLACE’S director, Missouri State University’s Assistant Professor Karen Sabo.

THE OTHER PLACE is the story of Juliana Smithton, a physician with a specialty in biomedical research now working for a pharmaceutical company. 

Feature: THE OTHER PLACE at FOX THEATRE/Springfield
Director Karen Sabo 

Juliana experiences an acute dysfunctional episode while giving a presentation to a doctor’s conference in the Virgin Islands. Suddenly, this accomplished doctor is unable to string together simple words into coherent sentences and thinks she sees a person dressed in a yellow bikini interrupting her presentation.  Juliana becomes convinced she is suffering from a brain Cancer.  She has a family history of the disease.

Juliana consults with another doctor to confirm her suspected diagnosis. We also learn that her long marriage to another physician is in trouble and her relationship with her daughter is estranged.  As the play continues, Juliana’s behavior becomes more erratic.  Her dependability as a narrator becomes suspect.

Juliana is played by equity member Sarah Wiggin.  Wiggin is also a faculty member at Missouri State.  Juliana is a role that has been on Wiggin’s radar for about 10 years.  One suspects Wiggin may have seen the original powerhouse Obie winning performance by Laurie Metcalf.  And so now she's got the chance to do it.

“It is such a lovely script,” said Director Sabo. “It's one of those bottomless pieces where, the actors continue to find more layers and more layers of complexity because that's how Sharr White’s script is written.”

It's a four- person cast.  In addition to Juliana, the other characters come and go. Some may play multiple characters.  Jeff Carney plays Juliana’s  husband, an oncologist. The other two cast members play multiple roles in the show.  They are Jessica Bower and Kyle A. Thomas.

THE OTHER PLACE  runs April 26th through April 28th and May 2nd through May 12th at the Springfield Fox Theatre.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.springfieldcontemporarytheatre.org.




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