The first offering in The WordPlayers’ 2016-2017 season will be Last Train to Nibroc by Arlene Hutton. This play explores the new relationship of two young people who meet in 1940 under the shadow of the threat of war. May and Raleigh grew up just a few miles from each other in Kentucky, but meet for the first time on a train from Los Angeles. As the story begins, we find that May has had dreams of getting married and becoming a missionary, and Raleigh of becoming a pilot and fighting in World War II, but both of them have recently found those dreams disappointed. Now they are looking for new purpose and direction, and we wonder if they might find it in each other.
Director Matthew Lloyd has been looking forward to this project for some time. “This is such a gem of a show. The staging is simple, but the characters are so complex. It’s set in the context of the 1940s, but there’s so much truth to the struggle these young people are going through. The message is timeless.” Mr. Lloyd has directed several shows for The WordPlayers, including Anne of Green Gables, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Doubt: a Parable, Steel Magnolias, and The Spitfire Grill. “I’m glad I have such a great cast for this show. They really are two of my favorite actors to work with. I know they’ll do this script justice with an honest and nuanced performance. This is really going to be something special.”
Rachel Norman returns to The WordPlayers’ stage as May. Audiences may remember her brilliant performances as Shelby in Steel Magnolias and Sister James in Doubt. A UT graduate, Ms. Norman has recently put her hand to directing. She has helmed several of The WordPlayers’ recent touring productions.
Mark Jennings, also a UT alum, has been in some of The WordPlayers’ recent staged readings, but this is his first time in a full production with the company since The Miracle Worker in 2009. In the meantime, he has appeared in productions with several other local companies, starring in such roles as Spike in Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike and Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men. He is also an original member of Full Disclosure Comedy, a Knoxville long-form improv comedy troupe.
Helping to highlight the 1940s setting is original music by local composer/musician, John thomas Oaks. Oaks has written and produced several musicals and solo recordings, and for the past several years has been the “go-to guy” for The WordPlayers to provide incidental music to enhance their stage productions. “I love working with John,” says Lloyd. “His music is so creative, but always appropriate to the time and the needs of the production. His music is really going to help set the stage for this show.”
The show will be performed at Erin Presbyterian Church, 200 Lockett Rd, Knoxville. Set design by Matthew Lloyd, lighting design by Joe Jaynes, and costume design by Lisa Stockton. Tammy Murphy will stage manage.
WHEN: September 15, 16, 22, 23 @ 7:30 pm, September 18 & 25 @ 2:30 pm
WHERE: Erin Presbyterian Church, 200 Lockett Rd., Knoxville, TN
TICKETS: Adults: $15, Seniors (60+): $12, Students: $10, Groups of 12 or more: $10 each
Purchase tickets in advance online at wordplayers.org or at the door with cash or check.
Call 865.539.2490 for more information.