WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Oct. 1, 2019 — West Liberty University Hilltop Players are presenting a season of theater that has something for everyone.
The season opens on Homecoming Weekend with “The Foreigner,” a comedy written by American playwright Larry Shue. Directed by Associate Professor of Theater Michael Aulick, assisted by Shelby Garrett, it opens Oct. 9 in the Kelly Theatre. Garrett is an adjunct faculty member.
“The Foreigner” won two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards as Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production.
Set in a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by “Froggy” LeSueur, a British demolition expert who occasionally runs training sessions at a nearby army base, the play is guaranteed fun.
This time Froggy has brought along a friend, a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers. So Froggy tells all assembled that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English.
Once alone the fun begins, as Charlie overhears more than he should—the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister’s pretty fiancée is pregnant; and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn’t understand a word being said. That fuels the hilarity of the play and sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously awry for the “bad guys,” and the “good guys” emerge triumphant.
Dates and times for “The Foreigner” are 7:30 p.m., Oct. 9-12 and 3 p.m., Oct. 13 in the Kelly Theatre.
Coming up next on the Hilltop is “Radium Girls,” based on a true story that happened during World War I that written by D.W. Gregory. It is directed by Aulick and Maura Reiff.
The Radium Girls were female factory workers who suffered from radiation poisoning due to the luminous radium paint they were producing.
“Our students are terribly excited for Radium Girls,” said Aulick. “It’s a dramatic piece based on real life. Some women who worked at a factory got cancer because of the materials they were using, but the company never would admit or help them out with their medical bills. So the company was killing them, and they couldn’t get anybody to support them. It’s based on a true story, we were doing research about it and we were finding old articles about these women, which was a really interesting process.”
Dates and times for “Radium Girls” are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20-23 and 3 p.m., Nov. 24 in the Kelly Theatre.
“Keely and Du,” a widely-discussed drama about abortion, written by Jane Martin more than 15 years ago, will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 26-29 and 3 p.m., March 1 in the Black Box Theatre Space, located in the Hall of Fine Arts.
“Keely and Du is a fabulous show that students are excited about that deal with reproductive rights for women and bringing the religious, conservative ideas and the right to choose, all together in a really interesting play,” said Aulick.
Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” will close this year’s Hilltop Players season on April 15.
Don Pedro, a prince from Aragon, stopped by in the town of Messina while returning from a successful battle with his soldier and close friend, Claudio. On the trip, Pedro noticed Claudio is falling for Hero, the daughter of Leonato, a governor of Messina. So the prince was trying to set a wedding for them, but his illegitimate brother Don John who has been jealous of Claudio decided to stop the wedding.
Even though the show is mainly talking about the love story between Claudio and Hero, more attentions are drawn into the dramatic couple, Beatrice, niece of Leonato, and Benedick, Pedro’s companion.
“We are very excited to perform ‘Much Ado about Nothing.’ It’s a really funny Shakespeare’s play, we will do it really well because we have the right actors for it. It should be a lot of fun,” said Aulick.
Dates and times for “Much Ado About Nothing” are 7:30 p.m., April 15-18 and 3 p.m., April 19 in the Kelly Theatre.
Aulick is confident about the 2019-2020 season.
“The Foreigner will be a big hit; Radium Girls might be the most successful artistic thing that we do; Keely and Du may be the best acting that we do and Much Ado about Nothing may be another huge hit I’m sure,” said Aulick. “Please join us for entertainment this season. Our students will surprise you.”
Tickets for all plays will be available through Brown Paper Tickets online and will be on sale 30 days before the opening of each production. If you have any questions, please contact Aulick at [email protected].