Amy is trying.
Trying to be a good student,
Will this mythical man-eating giant be her salvation, or her downfall?
The Stillwater Theatre Company, Meredith College’s professional theater-in-residence, will stage Hungry, comic playwright Lia Romeo’s provocative play about a misfit teenaged girl, struggling with boys, peer pressure, and her mother’s constant nagging about her weight, on March 22-25 and March 27-April 1 in Studio Theatre in the Studio Theatre in Jones Hall at Meredith College campus in Raleigh, NC. Hungry made its world premiere on March 3-18 at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO.
“The artistic director of Stillwater Theatre Company, Steven Roten, … had produced Romeo’s Right Place, Right Time last season,” recalls director Chip Rodgers, “and [he] was interested in working with her again. Since Stillwater’s mission is to produce original and provocative work, Hungry was the perfect fit.”
But Rodgers, who is a native of Raleigh currently living in New York City, adds this “parental advisory”: “Hungry contains strong language and adult situations, and will not be appropriate for young children. The performance is 90 minutes with no intermission.”
He adds, “I am a big fan of contradiction and juxtaposition on the stage. When I read Lia Romeo’s play, I was unsure whether it should be staged as a comedy, a horror, a fantasy, or a psychological dream play. In the rehearsal room, I have discovered that it is all of the above. It gives me that feeling we don’t often get in the theater that says, ‘I know my gut is reacting to something, but I don’t know what, or how to deal with it.'”
When the curtain rises, says director Chip Rodgers, “Amy (Emily Ahrens) is trying desperately to fit in. She tries to be like her friend Bianca (Sabrina Aldridge), and is pressured to please her oppressive Mother (Mahamantra Das). She tries with everyone, until a Minotaur (Michael Murray) arrives at her bedroom window and changes her life — and the lives of her loved ones — forever.”
Rodgers adds, “With 18 episodic scenes in less than 90 minutes, consisting of six location changes, [and] ending in a major special-effects sequence, all the while following a mute mythical creature, playwright Lia Romeo was not shy in presenting a challenge [to the Stillwater Theatre cast and crew]. Our production has embraced her challenges by creating a part film and part performance installation.”
In addition to director Chip Rodgers, who doubles as sound designer for the show, the Stillwater Theatre Company creative team for Hungry includes producer and technical director Steven Roten, assistant director Michelle Henderson, set and lighting designer Shannon Clark, costume designer Rebecca Bailey, and stage manager Scott Wray. The production also features video animation by Meredith Laxton and video supervision by John Maruca.
Chip Rodgers says, “The set consists of 12 television monitors, seven live video cameras, a sink, a toilet, a bed, a sofa, and a dinner table. [The set is a] collage that is part art installation and part movie set, with the audience sitting in an arena of bleachers, giving a unique perspective to every seat.”
He adds, “Taking inspiration from films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari  and Paranormal Activity , [set and lighting designer] Shannon Clark’s stark lighting gives life to his minimalistic and effective set design. Television monitors light up directly beside the action, channeling the madness of midnight insomnia….
“Visual artist Rebecca Bailey was called on to recreate two worlds with the costumes,” claims Rodgers. One was of high-school dance team girls and workout gear, and the other the raw and fantastical world of a mythical creature. Rising to the challenge, Bailey has helped shape the Minotaur into a sexy and mystifying beast.”
The Stillwater Theatre Company presents HUNGRY at 8 p.m. March 22-24, 3 p.m. March 25, 8 p.m. March 27-31, and 3 p.m. April 1 in the Studio Theatre in Jones Hall at Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.
TICKETS: $15 ($10 students and seniors and FREE to the Meredith College community).
BOX OFFICE: 919-760-2840 or email@example.com.
The Playwright: http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsR/romeo-lia.html (Doollee.com) and http://www.jewcy.com/author/lia_romeo (her blog at Jewcy.com).
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