SMC to perform ‘Gossamer’ play
Kiera Johnsen | Wednesday, February 25, 2015
The Saint Mary’s College Theatre Program will perform the play “Gossamer” by novelist and Newberry Medal recipient Lois Lowry from Thursday to Sunday in the Little Theatre.
The play follows a story of magical beings who create dreams. The loving and empathetic “littlest” dream-giver possesses a gossamer touch in giving dreams; however, the dream-giver struggles when sent to help heal a young boy named John.
Katie Sullivan, director and associate professor of theatre, said the themes and storyline in “Gossamer” will make the play an enjoyable experience for the audience.
“Students will enjoy the good versus evil, the notion that our dreams are gifts to us, that there are truly scary things happening in the world and that we must find through imagination, positive memories and loving relationships the courage to step past our fears and negative experiences,” she said. “It is actually a pretty deep little play by the time we come to the ending.”
Sullivan said the play is true to the book, even describing mystical creatures such as the Sinisteeds, dark and terrifying dream-givers resembling horses who rip through walls, breathe fire and disappear back through the walls, leaving only scorch marks.
“It’s a challenge to get this on the stage in a manner that is doable but yet conveys the fright and the power that they bring to the story,” she said.
Sullivan said stories involving the blurring of fantasy and reality were not foreign to the students working in the production.
“College students these days have grown up on “Harry Potter,” for instance, and understand and appreciate the existence of other places, non-human characters, different rules that govern these worlds,” she said.
Maria Welser, a junior portraying John in the production, said she enjoys getting the opportunity to relive childhood.
“I get to be a kid again, and not just any kid. I think John has a lot of swagger and maybe that’s just me, but he’s also best friends with a dog named Toby,” she said. “It’s so fun to just play around and act like a little kid. We as adults don’t really get the chance to do that. Kids get the chance to be anything they want to be.”
On a serious note, this play creates a great opportunity to shed light on child abuse, she said.
“John comes from an abusive family, and I think it’s nice to give a voice to children from less fortunate households,” Welser said.
Song-eun Ma, an exchange student from Korea playing the character “Littlest One,” said preparing for the show has been enjoyable due to a close-knit cast.
“They are literally my energy source,” Ma said. “They make me so happy the whole rehearsal time.”
Sullivan said Saint Mary’s provides theater students exposure to a variety of plays in both contemporary and classical genres.
“Our students need experience at working with elevated language like verse, such as in Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter,” she said. “We put on “Henry V” last spring and the Greek comedy “Lysistrata” a couple of years before that.
“We also like to produce plays written by women, such as this one was, as we are at women’s college and want to educate our women, both theatre students and the student audience, with playwrights, issues, concerns, that do or will involve them in their lifetimes as women.”