Bethany College Theatre Presents ‘night, Mother’

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College Theatre will present “‘night, Mother” by Marsha Norman on April 9-10 at 8 p.m. in Wailes Theatre. An open dress rehearsal on April 8 at 8 p.m. will be followed by a talkback session addressing the issue of suicide, the play’s central theme. Veronica Reynolds, College Counselor, will host the discussion.

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“‘night, Mother” won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984. The one-act drama begins when Jessie—played by senior Theatre major Lydia Lavin of Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y.—declares to her mother her intention to kill herself. The role of Thelma, Jessie’s mother, will be played by award-winning guest artist Susan Stepputtis of St. Clairsville, Ohio. The ensuing drama consists of Thelma’s attempt to discover the cause of her daughter’s plans and to prevent her death.

“This beautifully written play captures the essence of a mother-daughter relationship through the intensity of the high-stakes situation,” stated Laura Hardt, Director of the play and Adjunct Instructor in Bethany’s Department of Education. “The blending of a mature actress’s skills with a young actress’s skills heightens its uniqueness and promises to draw the audience into the heart-breaking story.”

Tracie Lynn Duncan, Assistant Professor of Theatre, will provide technical support and design. Shawn Holmes, a sophomore Theatre major from Weirton, W.Va., will serve as Stage Manager. Sophomore Theatre major Tina Rykowski from Weirton, W.Va., is Assistant Stage Manager.

Lavin has performed both onstage and in backstage capacities since her freshman year at Bethany. Her most recent role was as Countess in “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” She chose “’night, Mother” as her senior project to explore a more serious role than her more customary comic efforts.

Stepputtis is the recipient of a 2007 Excellence in Acting Award for her portrayal of Bella in “Lost in Yonkers” and is seen frequently on area stages. In addition to acting she is an accomplished musician and also dances, sings and directs.

Hardt has been performing on stage for most of her life and was seen last year in West Liberty University’s alumni production of “You Can’t Take It With You.” She directs youth drama workshops each summer for the Strand Theatre Preservation Society.

Admission is free, and donations are accepted. Call 304.829.7124 to make reservations or for more information.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.