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SCT performs ‘Cabin’ before MTA competition

January 11, 2012

Starkville Community Theatre will perform its production of “Cabin 12” Thursday at McComas Hall on the campus of Mississippi State University. The play begins at 7:30 p.m., and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. SCT members said this play contains language and situations some may find offensive and is not appropriate for children.

“Cabin 12,” a one-act play written by John Bishop, is SCT’s submission to this weekend’s Mississippi Theatre Association Festival in Gulfport. The play is directed by Kris Lee and features cast members Paul Ruff, Ben Lang, Rick Jordan and Jessica Taylor.

Matt Crane, MTA public relations director for Starkville, said the competition challenges the community theatre’s ability to put on a one-act show within the confines an hour.

“Each show is timed,” Crane said. “When time starts, the crew has 10 minutes to assemble their set. All of the sets have to fit in a 10x10 box before the pieces can be taken out and assembled on stage. When the first light cue comes up, the show begins; each cast has a maximum of 60 minutes to perform their piece. After the show is over, time is set again, and the crew has 10 minutes to break down the set and get their set back into the box.”

Lee said SCT tries to keep its focus on community.

“We’ve just been so fortunate to have so many talented people here in Starkville and in this cast and crew,” Lee said. “A few of the actors in this show have professional experience in both L.A. and New York, so we’re very privileged to be able to utilize those talents.”

Lang, now a Starkville attorney, appeared in television series including “ER,” “The West Wing” and “Cold Case.”

“This play certainly doesn’t pull any punches,” Lang said. “Bob (Lang’s character) is a tormented character ... ready to snap at any moment. It has been a challenge to dive into that darkness each night, but I think that our cast has done a great job of bringing some humanity to this story while maintaining the original rawness the playwright intended. At the end of the day, I have really enjoyed working with such a challenging piece alongside such a talented cast and crew.”

Ruff said he is taking a break from appearing in a long string of comedies at SCT to try his hand at a more dramatic role.

“This has proved challenging,” Ruff said. “But I have enjoyed working under the direction of Kris Lee again.”

Ruff and Lee previously worked together for the 2009 MTA winner “Catfish Moon.”

While Ruff said he has worked with Jordan and Taylor before, this marks his first endeavor with Lang.

“Ben (Lang) has made this process entirely delightful,” Ruff said. “He is reliable, supportive and extremely talented.” 

While he tends to gravitate toward more comedic roles, Ruff said he appreciates the challenge “Cabin 12” has provided.

Taylor, a Gulfport native, said she is excited to continue participating in SCT shows.

“After only being in SCT’s comedic musicals, ‘Cabin 12’ is a nice change of pace,” Taylor said. “ I’m extremely honored to be part of the competition piece and to work with such fantastic actors and crew. It’s been quite an experience, and I’ve enjoyed every second.”

Jordan said he is happy to be in his second competition piece for MTA since “You Can’t Take It With You” during his high school days. Jordan said despite the dark subject matter, he has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the talented cast and crew of “Cabin 12.”

“The show is such a dark, brutally honest story of a father and son who are just too tired to handle anything thrown their way,” Jordan said. “It’s so hard to watch this father and son try to relate in the only way they can — through the dead son, who one idolized and the other never could get close to.”

Crew members for “Cabin 12” include Lee Dempsey, Abby Farragher, Maureen Hughes, Rick Jordan, Ben Lang, Patrick McFadyen, Paul Ruff and Jessica Taylor. Amanda Clay Powers is serving as stage manager.

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