Original theatre production comes to Fairmont State

The Fairmont State University Department of Performing Arts presents an original theatre production based on the unpublished work of Dr. Ruth Ann Musick.  The Ghostly and the Ghastly: A Passel of West Virginia Folktales will be presented in Wallman Hall Theatre on February 20, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 304-367-4240.

The production includes eerie stories such as “The Fate of Frank Collins” a tale of a monument maker who encounters a strange customer with an even stranger request, and “Ida Crawford” the story of a mysterious hitchhiker who saves the life of a traveler. The folktales for the project are taken from the Ruth Ann Musick Archives housed at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center. Musick is the author of the popular ghost story collections “Coffin Hollow “and “The Tell-tale Lilac Bush”. The stories for “The Ghostly and Ghastly” were selected by Dr. Judy Byers with the help of Melissa Nichols and Lilly Peterson.  Dr. Byers is working on compiling stories for an upcoming series of books of folklore.

The theatre project is being facilitated by Dr. Francene Kirk, Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts and the Interim Director of the Folklife Center.  She is being assisted by senior theatre major Kyle Stemple. This production will be Kyle’s senior project, a requirement for completion of his theatre degree.  Kyle, the son of Matt Stemple and Maureen Stemple, is from Parsons, West Virginia, and a graduate of Tucker County High School.  He has performed in several Fairmont State University productions including, “Urinetown”, “Seagull”, and “Boeing Boeing”.  He is also a member of the Rustic Mechanicals Shakespeare Troupe in Clarksburg, WV. Upon graduation, Kyle has a strong interest in working in the fields of acting, directing, and playwriting.

Cast includes Fairmont State University students Jessi Grimmett (Clarksburg, WV), Rosemary Velazquez (Mannington, WV), Karlee Edmonds (Point Pleasant, WV), Hannah Schreiner (Martinsburg, WV), Ashley Doyle (Parkersburg, WV), Hayley Harvey (Buckhannon, WV), Jaclyn Kovach (Weston, WV), and Brian McDonagh (Martinsburg, WV).  The stage manager is Riley Spears (Clarksburg, WV). The cast also includes Town and Gown actor, John Fallon. 

The cast and crew of The Ghostly and the Ghastly is creating the script using improvisational activities. “It’s an exciting and scary process,” says Dr. Kirk. “We start with the raw stories and five weeks later we have to have a production ready. The cast reads the stories, improvises potential lines, and creates the scenes. It’s my favorite way of doing theatre.” 

The cast and crew will also present two school-day performances for local schools.  Those performances are Thursday, February 20, and Friday, February 21 at 10:00 a.m. Educators can call the box office for additional information.

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