Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT), the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia, presents “The Member of the Wedding.” This classic play by Southern American writer Carson McCullers runs Oct. 1, Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.
In this funny and heart-warming American classic, penned by one of America’s finest writers, 12-year-old tomboy Frankie feels disconnected from her life and dreams of escaping by running away with her brother and his fiancée. Set in a small Southern town in 1945, race, politics, sex and adolescence whirl around Frankie as she struggles through hope and disappointment to belong to something.
McCullers was born in Columbus, GA, in 1917. She left home at 17 to pursue a music career but illness kept her from achieving that goal. While studying in New York City, her writing was lauded by many of her professors.
Though she had left the south by the time she began writing, most of McCullers novels have southern settings, and her writing has been described as Southern Gothic. McCullers’ work is often filled with themes of isolation and loneliness, and she depicts the racism and cruelty so apparent during her life.
“I think McCullers was deeply aware of and sensitive to the responsibility of southern whites with respect to the oppression of African-Americans. She didn’t shy away from the subject but treated it with great care even in her work that predated the civil rights movement by many years,” Director Cathey Sawyer said.
As a southerner, McCullers saw firsthand the social circumstances brought center stage in the production. Her vivid portrayal of the effects of racism through her characters was not often seen in literature.
“I would say the play is progressive and ahead of its time by the way the author portrayed the African-American characters. Each character displayed a different aspect of the life that African Americans lived during that era,” actor Lorenzo Scott, who will portray T.T., said.
T.T. is an older and wiser character whose only interest is gaining the love of housekeeper Berenice. Scott sees him as a man who has learned how to be careful and survive with his dignity in a society that sees him as a lesser citizen.
By contrast, young and rebellious Honey’s experiences have made him frustrated with the world he is forced to inhabit and his outright hostility expresses that anger. Warren Jackson will portray this willful character. He may not have a large role but his presence reveals a young man’s perspective in a world on the brink of change.
“The audience is only shown a slice of his life. I was, and still am, interested in the challenge of portraying a young man bound up, socially, psychologically and to an extent physically, in just a few brief scenes,” the actor said.
These two distinct characters help bring this world, seen through the eyes of an innocent 12-year-old, into reality.
This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.