HATTIESBURG, Miss. (BP)–The William Carey College Theatre production of “And David Danced” has been selected for the 2001 American College Theatre Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.
Carey is one of four colleges nationwide chosen to present a full production at the festival. A faculty member at another college likened it to “the Final Four and the Super Bowl rolled into one.” Other colleges to be represented are the University of Kansas, University of Oklahoma and Boston University.
The play is an original work by Jonathan Pope Evans, a 2000 Carey graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater. It was premiered last October by the WCC Theatre in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Evans was awarded the top prize in Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Competition for his original play, “And David Danced.” The competition considers plays written by students that deal with someone coping with a disability.
Evans’ play is a study of a man who has Huntington’s disease, a deadly illness that destroys the mind and body, and its effects on the man’s family and the community in which they live in a rural area of the American South.
The play was presented at the Mississippi/Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival at Mississippi State University in November 2000. The show advanced to the 10-state Region IV festival, hosted in February by the University of Southern Mississippi.
A national selection committee traveled to all eight of the festival competition’s regions and selected Carey as one of the four major productions to advance to the Kennedy Center. Additionally, several one-act plays were invited.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on April 23 and 24 in the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center.
Evans began the process of writing “And David Danced” during his senior year at Carey and continued work on the play while a member of the staff of Carey Dinner Theatre last summer. After the close of the season, Evans went home to Alabama and finished the first draft of the script.
Evans entered graduate school at California Institute of the Arts in September while his creative work with the play continued. He and Obra Quave made extensive use of e-mail and the telephone to revise the script until opening night.
Evans said he became interested in Huntington’s disease while in a biology class at Carey. He said he “found the subject so compelling that I decided to write the play.”
Evans will receive a cash prize, a fellowship to attend a prestigious playwriting program and a free membership in the Dramatists Guild of America.
In addition to the production’s selection for presentation at the Kennedy Center, two Carey theater students won two of three major design awards in the Region IV competition and will compete at the national festival at the Kennedy Center.
Zack Brown and Kelly James both won the Barbizon prize for their designs for “And David Danced.” Brown was honored for his lighting of the production and James for costumes. Brown, who is from Tupelo, is a junior theater major; James, a junior from Meridian, also majors in theater. Another Carey student, Joseph Brack, a senior from Whitman, Mass., received an honorable mention in the competition for his costume designs in the production “Pinocchio.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: HEADED FOR D.C., AND DAVID DANCED and KENNEDY CENTER-BOUND.