Theatre season opens with a hit

Award-winning play ‘Life is Mostly Straws’ makes world premiere at Georgia College

Georgia College explores the concept of insecurity with the award-winning play, “Life is Mostly Straws.”

The work is written by award-winning playwright Richard Manley and premiered at Georgia College’s Russell Auditorium on Sept 28.

“Life is Mostly Straws” is a psychologically tantalizing drama that explores the evolving mental states and relationships of brothers Noah, played by senior theatre major Jordan Hale, and David, played by senior theatre major Joseph Dumford.

The mannerisms and lifestyles of the main characters are contrasting. David is portrayed as an avid and fearless businessman, while his brother, Noah, is a reserved and pensive professor.

The two brothers experienced a difficult childhood, forging a unique bond that allows the siblings to rely on each other throughout adulthood, facing the demons of loneliness, tainted love, insecurity and personal doubt.

“I believe Americans are by-and-large a lonely people,” Manley said in a recent press release.  “Our productivity and medication and social media notwithstanding, we struggle to make sense of things, to find a sustainable balance between melancholy and hope.”

[media-credit id=2 align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]The remainder of the small cast is rounded out by junior theatre major Amy Carpenter, playing Joanna, and senior theatre major Erica Mandato, playing Sydney – both romantic interests of the brothers.

The cast and crew of the production has been hard at work under the direction of Iona Cruey Pendergast to deliver Manley’s creative vision to audiences in the most accurate way possible, holding lengthy rehearsals to perfect the mannerisms of the mature, complex characters.

“It took a while for all of us to grasp the vision for ‘Life is Mostly Straws.’ The whole concept of being middle-aged and losing the things you had when you were younger was a lot to think about as an actor,” Mandato said. “When playing an older character you have to hold yourself differently, speak differently and have a different mindset.”

Mandato plays Sydney, the 36-year-old love interest of Noah, whom she describes as “confident, young and enthusiastic.”

Although each possess unique traits, all four characters in “Life is Mostly Straws” are innately flawed, with insecurity as the common theme drawing the men and women together into a myriad of emotional afflictions.

“I believe insecurity is a common theme that resonates in varying degrees with each of us,” Pendergast said. “I was immediately drawn to the characters and in awe of Richard Manley’s ability to tackle this ‘character flaw. From the first time I read this script, I could envision so many moments and felt compelled to partner with this playwright to tell his story.”

A story fueled by universal feelings of self-discovery and self-doubt alike, “Life is Mostly Straws” is a testimony to the fickle ways of the human heart and aims to give audiences insight into the plight of insecurity.

“This play is important because it will let our student body see what happens when we let our insecurities rule us,” Carpenter said. “I hope to communicate with my character (Joanna) that trusting yourself and others is important, especially while in college.”

[media-credit id=2 align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Joseph Dumford and Amy Carpenter keep the audience captivated during a high-intensity scene in “Life is Mostly Straws.” Dumford plays David, a powerful businessman who struggles with his insecurites. Carpenter plays the role of Joanna, David’s poetic wife who has big literary dreams.

The play, which won the Georgia College Pillars Playwriting Prize, a script-writing contest held each year that lands the winner a seat on the department of theatre’s mainstage season, promises to keep audiences anxiously engaged with its suspenseful plot and emotionally mature themes.

“Let yourself be immersed in the play,” encourages Mandato. “This is a production that will expand the way you think, broaden your vocabulary and open your eyes to issues you will eventually face.”

Manley hopes that audiences will view his work as a moment of savory hope, as well as a candid glimpse of intricate, raw reality.

“Joy, when it comes, is often momentary, and consequently savored. In my work, I celebrate those who fight to maintain equilibrium,” Manley said. “I am very excited to be part of what Georgia College is doing with my work.”

“Life is Mostly Straws” is recommended for mature audiences and will run from 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Oct. 1, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 2.

General admission tickets are $14, senior citizens and GC faculty/staff are $10, and student tickets are $5.

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