GCCC Players to present original production this weekend

The Garden City Community College Players are presenting, Alone; In the Mind of Edgar Allen Poe, an original play written by Steven “Wade” Freeman, a non-traditional student from Garden City.

Freeman is a retired nurse who, after a full career in the medical profession, has decided to pursue interests in theatre including playwriting, dramaturgy, and acting.

“I’ve been interested in Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry which is often overlooked as opposed to his stories, and his poem Alone, began the writing journey for me,” Freeman said.

The play tells the story of Poe’s last night on earth and revisits his successes and failure through the women in his life.

“The characters on stage are not ghosts, but rather shadows of Poe’s conflicted relationships with some of the most important people in his life.”  Freeman said. Poe’s poetry and quotations are used liberally throughout the script to tell his story.

The play is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1-3 at the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Auditorium, with a final show at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 4.

Tickets are free to faculty, staff, students, and Gold Card holders. General admissions is $10 per person and $7 for seniors without a Gold Card and those ages 17 and younger. Tickets are available now and can be reserved by calling Mark Scheopner at 276-9540.

Due to adult themes, the play is rated a soft PG-13.

Jory Stephen, freshman from Ulysses who plays Poe said, “It is a very unique role. It’s something that got me out of my comfort zone. I think that audiences will be surprised that Poe was a real person with real issues. The play makes him human rather than a myth.”

Rheann Rodenbur, freshman from Ingalls is playing the role of Virginia Poe, Edgar’s wife. This is her first drama, as she has normally performed musical theatre.

“Drama is different from musical theatre because there is no choral work. We stand on our own and every moment has to be true,” she said.

Toby Mitchell plays the role of Mrs. Clem and has been working on the costume construction for the production.

“I found it interesting that Wade (the playwright) wanted a gray scale for the costumes of the women in Poe’s life. Without color to aid the character, we have to use all of our acting skills to make the characters stand out,” he said.

Darlene Bennett, Garden City sophomore, said, “I like being the comic relief in this production since it is such an intense drama. The historical characters deal with super serious issues, so the audience needs a break from time to time so that they can appreciate the story in full.”

“This has been an inspiring and challenging production for me,” GCCC Theatre Director Phil Hoke said. “Working with another person’s original work, it was important to me that we realized Wade’s vision on our stage. It has been a truly collaborative process working with Wade and the cast as we have strived to remain true to the life of an American Icon and celebrate the first produced play for Wade. I’m certain it won’t be his last.”

The play will be a participating production for Region V’s Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival this year. If selected for inclusion in this years’ festival, the play will travel to Sioux Falls, Iowa in January 2019.