UNION — For the second year in a row, the USC Union Players will produce a play by a playwright who has been featured at the university’s Upcountry Literary Festival.
The USC Union Players will present a production of “The Girl with the Faraway Eye,” a play by Jim Clark, Nov. 15, 16, and 17, in the USC Union Auditorium. The play will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16; and it will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.
The play — set in present and the past in a town called Blacks Fork, Tenn. — is about a girl named Beth, who experiences a summer the playwright described as a summer of convergence, transition, rebellion and acceptance. The play will be directed by Amber Crocker, who said the play’s main character discovers she has circus people in her family and has to figure out who she is before she judges others.
Crocker said the play has moments of tension and comedy. She said the play’s main character encounters several colorful characters such as the frightening, judgmental Drugstore Lady and the equally frightening but wise and insightful Bearded Lady. Crocker said events in the story eventually lead all of the characters toward consequences that will forever change them. Crocker recited her favorite line from the play, which is said by the Bearded Lady to Beth:
“I know you probably don’t want to hear this, especially from someone who looks like me, but face it, you’re a freak!”
Clark summed up the play’s message.
“Ultimately, Beth learns the difficult lesson that sometimes, in order to become who you are and yet continue to love home and its people, you must learn to distance yourself from it and them,” he said.
The cast of the play is as follows:
“Beth” is played by Taylor Mahan; “Leona” is played by Shyanne Haney; “Mee Ma” is played by Cassie Sinclair; “Bobby” is played by Orlando Sartor; “Brett” is played by Jasmine Craig; “Johnny Faircloth” is played by Doyle Wheatley; “Larry Ray Smalls” is played by Wallace Young; “The Bearded Lady” is played by Bonnie Baker; “Drug Store Lady” is played by Jordan Sizemore; “Brother Faircloth” is played by John Crocker; and “Narrator Beth” is played by Amber Crocker.
The stage crew includes Alexis Taylor, Derrick Means, Caitlynn O’Shields, and Timothy Taylor.
Crocker said the cast and crew have rehearsed for about three months.
“We had a rough patch at first because this play is so different from last year’s, but everybody is working really, really hard,” she said.
Crocker said the special effects of this play are far more advanced than those of last year’s play, as they include smoke, lights and gunfire.
“Everyone has been great about working around work schedules and school schedules,” she said. “They have been awesome about giving up their time and coming to practice.”
Tickets for the play will be $3, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Upcountry Literary Festival.
“Not only does it help us, but we are trying to help the festival because that’s where our playwrights come from,” Crocker said.
Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the start time of each production.