Players try different type of show


March 27, 1998|By Christy Kruhm | Christy Kruhm,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WITH THIS weekend's presentation of "Picnic at Hanging Rock," the Mount Airy Players deviate from the popular, classic plays the group has traditionally performed.

The play opens its two-week run at 8 p.m. today. Other shows will be at 8 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday and at 8 p.m. April 2, 3 and 4. All shows will be held at Twin Ridge Elementary School, 1106 Leafy Hollow Circle, Mount Airy.

This spellbinding mystery centers on the disappearances of three girls and their teacher during a picnic on Valentine's Day 1900 at Hanging Rock in Australia. The play was written by Laura Annawyn Shamas and is based on the best-selling novel by Joan Lindsay.

Director Charles Beck says "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is different from anything the theater group has done. With a cast of 26 characters, the production is on a much larger scale and incorporates special effects, including video and sound technology.

Described as an intellectual play with complex characters, Beck calls the production a "compelling show, the characters are fascinating." The schoolgirls are played by Katy Elsasser, Lisa Miller, Hannah Cole and Jennifer Suidikas. Joan Jones plays Mrs. Appleyard, the school headmistress.

In addition to handling publicity for the play and playing Mrs. Bumpher, the constable's wife, Donna Abel used her professional research skills to investigate the mysteries that surround Hanging Rock.

After spending countless hours combing the Internet for information, Abel discovered that Hanging Rock is a geological formation in Victoria, Australia. It has been the subject of Australian and aboriginal folklore and fascination for hundreds of years.

Each year, young girls dressed in Victorian dresses make a pilgrimage to the rocks, as they did in Lindsay's book. The author contends that the events in her book are true. However, no one has been able to prove or disprove that the events recounted happened.

Abel's research helped Beck understand and incorporate the extensive use of symbolism throughout the play. Abel learned that references to swans and birds in the play symbolize love and eternal life, while the use of pansies symbolizes remembrance.

"Everyone can see what they want to, or don't want to, in this play," Abel said.

She says that the fascination with Hanging Rock is very mysterious, "almost creepy."

Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. All tickets are $5 for the April 2 performance.

Information: 301-829-1527.

Blood drive

The South Carroll High School Student Government Association is sponsoring an American Red Cross Blood Drive from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 7 at the school, 1300 W. Old Liberty Road, Winfield.

The annual blood drive is open to the public, teachers and students. Students must be age 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and have a permission slip signed by parents.

Information: 410-751-3375 or 410-795-8858.

Benefit dance

Winfield Recreation Council will sponsor a dance at Winfield Fire Hall, 1320 W. Old Liberty Road, at 9 p.m. April 4 to benefit its baseball program.

Tickets are $10 and may be bought in advance or at the door. Tickets include beer and setups. Music will be provided by Davis Deejays.

Information: Jeanie Yohn at 410-549-7327.

Christy Kruhm's Southwest Neighbors column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 3/27/98

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