‘Summoning of Everyman’ will open season

McNeese State University’s upcoming theatre season will feature an original work, a new director and community collaboration as it puts together a diverse season of productions.

“The Summoning of Everyman” will open the season Oct. 24-28. A morality play originally written in the 15th century, the work seeks to convey Biblical principals of righteousness in narrative form.

Director Charles McNeely said the play will feature four main characters who will all play the main role of “Everyman.” Though the play was written 100 years before Shakespeare, McNeely said, its themes and messages are still valid.

“This plays is his (Everyman’s) journey of going from being a sinner to not a saint, but someone who has gained forgiveness,” he said. “It’s all about the journey that everyman understands about what they can take with them to heaven.”

The theatre will open the new year with the musical “Songs for a New World” on Jan. 9, featuring the talents of McNeese and LaGrange High School musical theatre students.

“Songs for a New World” is a “cycle musical,” McNeely said, in that there is no one central plot line.

Featuring more than 15 musical numbers, “every song has a story unto its own” detailing how characters have overcome a tremendous obstacle ultimately creating a “new world for themselves,” he said.

“It’s a huge challenge. You have to be there from the first note and you have to show the depth of humanity in those four to five minutes that you’re singing,” McNeely explained.

In addition to guest cast members from LaGrange, “Songs for a New World” will also feature a guest director and the work of one of the university’s newest faculty members.

The season will close with “The Autism/Asperger’s Project,” a production that continues McNeese Theatre’s effort to bring special understanding to something that is misunderstood. The production, set for March 20-24, is written in the style of one of the newest forms of theatre — devised theatre — which seeks to use group conversation, interview and collaboration, to devise a story line, McNeely said.

McNeely plans to partner with campus and community organizations as he walks through the process of creating a work that resonates with audience members in a factual and inspiring way.

“I want everyone’s opinion … from the spectrum, caregivers, siblings … I want people to not feel sorry for them, but to be aware and appreciative of the differences.”

All shows will be performed in McNeese’s Tritico Theatre and season tickets can be purchased by calling 475-5041.

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Special to American Press