Mississippi College

Theatre Season Opening Soon at MC

September 11, 2008

Mississippi College students got caught up in the holiday season spirit at the Aven Little Theater in early September as they read scripts for an upcoming Christmas production.

The MC students were practicing their lines for Barbara Robinson's "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." The show portrays six of the world's meanest kids as they confront the Christmas story. It runs from Dec. 1-3 on the Clinton campus.

Communication and theatre professor Judith Lewis listened and occasionally interrupted to offer some acting tips. MC is clearly gearing up for its 2008-2009 acting season.

Lewis will be director for the "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" as well as Noel Coward's farce "Blithe Spirit," the hilarious tale about a man and the two blithe spirits of his two dead wives. MC's production of Coward's British comedy is set for performances from Oct. 30-Nov. 8.

After MC students performed in such tragedies as Shakespeare's "Othello" last season, the mood for the new season is definitely to "lighten up," Lewis says. A former professor at Troy State University in Alabama, she's marking her return to the MC campus this fall where she taught in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Morton resident later served with the U.S. Department of Education.

The theatre wing of MC's Department of Communication is putting on productions this fall that promise to make people laugh after audiences witnessed "murders" and "stabbings," on stage during Othello.

MC students "will present comedies that explore the lighter side of life, here on Earth and the hereafter, and all in good fun," said communication professor Phyllis Seawright, who directed "Othello" last season.

At the moment, Lewis is overseeing auditions as MC students and several children from the Jackson metro area tested their acting abilities in the tiny darkened theatre in the basement of Aven Hall.

Lewis is getting a helping hand as one nervous would-be actor after another reads the scripts.

MC junior Sarah Hankins, 20, of Clinton, is the student director for "Blithe Spirit," and making sure the afternoon auditions stay on schedule. A performer with Clinton's Brick Street Players and a stage helper in MC productions last season, Hankins is gaining valuable experience. A history education major and theatre minor at MC, Hankins hopes to become a theatre teacher in high school and, later, in college.

Tickets for the two productions in Aven Little Theatre cost $5 each for MC students, faculty and staff and senior citizens and $10 for general admission. For ticket information, call 601-925-3935.

MC's Department of Music, meanwhile, is also gearing up to present "The Secret Garden" in Jean Pittman Williams Recital Hall. Published as a novel by a century ago, the musical tells the story of an orphaned girl and the difference she makes for family and friends. The MC production opens Sept. 25. MC music professor and piano accompanist Carol Joy Sparkman is serving as the show's director.

"The Secret Garden" is part of MC's Family Weekend 2008 with performances Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the MC Department of Music at 601-925-3440. Tickets should go on sale by Sept. 16 on the MC campus.

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