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Theatre MSU's spring show "The Diviners" puts a new twist on how audiences will enjoy the performance, which will make for a new experience for patrons.
The show, which is set in a small, poor town in Indiana during the Depression, embodies a close-knit community, which prompted Director Donna Clevinger to expand on that sense of community.
Instead of utilizing the 447-capasity theater in McComas hall on campus, Clevinger is seating the audience right on stage with the performers.
"I wanted the intimacy of a shared space with the actors and audience because it is a very intimate play," Clevinger explained. "The action happens all over the community, so how exciting to have the audience right there in the action... I wanted the audience to see it from a perspective they would never see it in."
A set of four platforms will form a square on stage around the actors, which will seat roughly 100 patrons.
"The audience will serve as an extension of the community," actress Amanda Bobo said.
Audiences are also invited to stand and sit on stage for the full community effect, Clevinger added.
"It's just going to be a different kind of experience," Clevinger said. "[Audiences] will hopefully feel like they are in the home of Buddy (the lead character) or at the dry goods store or down at the river with the actors."
Clevinger explained that the arena setting of the show will also be an exciting experience for the actors as well.
"With any other show, the stage is ours, but with this show, since we are trying to embrace the community, they are sharing that space with us," actress Kelsey Brock said.
"It's different from regular theatre because typically, everything is really exaggerated in regular theatre, but now with the audience on stage with us, it's much more realistic," Wendy Morell added.
In addition to wanting audiences to feel apart of the theatre experience, Clevinger wanted patrons to see the real behind the scenes look of the McComas Hall theatre.
"We also wanted to bring attention to the facilities itself, which are in need of a little TLC," Clevinger said.
Clevinger hopes to bring appreciation to the theatre by having audiences see the raw equipment exposed during the performance. Just as the actors will be up close and personal exposing all flaws to the audience, the flaws of the theatre will not be hidden from view of the patrons. Clevinger explained it is theatre in its most real form.
The Diviners is a tale of a charismatic ex-preacher who drifts into Zion, Ind. He befriends Buddy, a mentally challenged boy with a grave fear of water. The two form a bond of trust that leads to the climax of the play. It is a heart-warming drama that hides itself within comedic timing, though it is a show not suitable for young children due to adult language and the close proximity to the actors.
The Diviners opens Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the McComas Hall theatre on MSU's campus. It will continue to run Friday, Feb. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 26, with both performances at 7:30 p.m. in McComas Hall theatre. Student tickets are $5 and adult tickets are $10.
For more information, call 325-4034.