Evelyn O'Neal Brush Directs ON THE VERGE For Lipscomb University Theatre

Evelyn O'Neal Brush Directs ON THE VERGE For Lipscomb University Theatre
Emily Meinerding, Bekah Stogner
and Mary Elizabeth Roberts

Lipscomb University Theatre kicks off its spring semester this February with Eric Overmyer's On the Verge, running February 16-25 in Shamblin Theatre.

"On the Verge is one of the more popular and enjoyable examples of post-modern theatre," says Beki Baker, chair of the Lipscomb theatre department and the show's producer. "It plays with language, location, character and time in really interesting and fun ways. It's a very enjoyable theatrical experience."

Within this chimerical comedy, three Victorian lady explorers set out on an adventure that takes them to darkest Africa, highest Himalaya and Terra Incognita. Blending Tom Stoppard's limber linguistics with the historic overview of a Thornton Wilder, Overmyer takes his audience on a mirthful safari that spins into time travel. The explorers can accommodate themselves to any emergency (natural or man-made), although they are momentarily disoriented as they approach modern times. A jaunt through a continuum of space, time, history, geography, feminism and fashion, On the Verge is a thoroughly serendipitous journey.

Directed by Evelyn O'Neal Brush, the show features an all-student cast of four including: Emily Meinerding, who plays Fanny; Mary Elizabeth Roberts, who plays Mary; Bekah Stogner, who plays Alex; and JT Friend, who is playing a total of eight characters including a Yeti, a fortune teller and a 1950s nightclub owner.

"As a director, I'm excited by a show with a small cast because it means that I can spend more time on my actors and less time on logistics," Brush explains. "Having a four-person cast means that the focus will really be on the characters - each person in the cast is absolutely integral to the story and the action that moves the play forward.

"This play is also unique in that while each female character definitely has a distinct voice, they operate largely as a trio," Brush says. "The three of them will get to dig deep into their roles both individually and as a unit. Then JT, our only male, gets to be all over the place - it's a real treat as an actor to have the opportunity to create so many different characterizations in one sitting. JT's roles serve a variety of purposes and provide some comic relief for our three heroines."

Brush, who has performed as a professional in several past Lipscomb shows with Blackbird Theatre and Nashville Shakespeare Festival, says in addition to the audience learning a few new fun phrases such as "egg beaters," "just a smidgen of cannibalism" and "time travel," she hopes they will also recognize a piece of themselves through the whimsical storyline and characters.

"On the Verge is a 'celebration of curiosity, personal growth and finding one's place in the world,'" she says. "My hope is that each audience member will recognize a part of themselves in our three explorers, whether they are practical-minded, whimsical, innocent, hopeful, pessimistic, lonely or absolutely certain of themselves. Perhaps watching these Victorian time-traveling trekkers face their journey with spirited determination will inspire our audience members to take a brave step forward into the unknown in their own lives."

Show times for On the Verge include: February 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. as well as February 18 and 25 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are regularly $15 for adults, $10 for university faculty/staff and $5 for students per show. Lipscomb University students will receive free admission thanks to the Hartselle Family Fund. For tickets, contact the Lipscomb Box Office at (615) 966-7075.

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