The dramatic twists and tension of a courtroom overseeing the trial of two Marines charged with murder will unfold upon the stage of Hoey auditorium just in time to provide an energy-packed showdown at the end of the semester.
The University Players here at Western Carolina University will present the drama “A Few Good Men” written by Aaron Sarkin. Performances begin April 24 and will run through April 28. Stephen Michael Ayers, associate professor of communication and theater arts, is the director of the production.
All performances will take place in the Hoey building at 7:30pm.
While most people may be more familiar with the movie and may even ask who will play Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, it is crucial to remember the advantages of seeing a live stage production which provides the immediacy of talented performers. These actors and actresses create intense action and reaction at an immediate point in time for the audience.
The set will only add to the emotional charge for the audience. With one studious glance, it will feel as if the dark varnished hardwood floors of the courtroom have become one with the seats in Hoey auditorium. With such close proximity, audiences can expect an excellent opportunity to watch this powerful story develop.
Stephen Ayers said, “I have high expectations for this show. There are an awfully lot of good people involved, and we have a great set and costumes.”
“A Few Good Men” is the story of two Marines, played by Michael Ayers and Jon Cloward, accused of murder in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The pair follows orders to administer a severe and unsanctioned form of hazing, known as a “Code Red,” to a platoon troublemaker, and in the process he is killed. In an attempt to divert blame from commanding officer Col. Nathan R. Jessep (Steve Carlisle, WCU instructor of communication and theater arts) and quickly subdue the affair, the Navy assigns Lt. Daniel Kaffe (Sean Bridgers), an inexperienced young lawyer, to defend the accused Marines.
Ayers added, “This is a good piece of literature and has the potential to be a phenomenal show.”
Sean Bridgers is a WCU alumnus and has appeared in the major motion pictures “The Chamber” and “Nell” as well as a number of television movies. He attributes his success to the multitude of acting opportunities at WCU.
Bridgers said, “At other universities, students don’t act in front of audiences much. At WCU, I got a lot of practice.”
The play also stars Bobbie Baker as Lt. Cmdr. Jo Anne Galloway, Daniel Weger as Lt. Sam Weinberg, Adam Nestlerode as Capt. Jack Ross, and Josh Ellis as Lt. Kendrick.
Baker said, “This is a big stretch from earlier roles that I’ve played this semester. When compared to Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror Show, this is the extreme other end of the spectrum. I’m glad to be working with professionals. It is a great experience for me and will be for the audience as well.”
Enthusiasm and expectations are riding high as opening night is closing in on the cast’s time schedule.
Carlisle expressed his excitement for the show at rehearsal. “The show promises to go very well. It allows these young people to play ‘soldier,’ which requires a great effort of discipline and attention. Military roles are very demanding, and this provides an opportunity to appreciate the military.”
Terry Nienhuis, who plays Capt. Markinson in the production, said, “The show is an excellent chance to entertain a lot of people. Audiences will find Bridgers and Carlisle as interesting as Tom Cruise or Jack Nicholson. We have good talented people, young and professional, who benefit from getting to work together.”
Other cast and crew include Katherine Barron, Bridgette Fitzgerald, Chris Hall, Done Kornse, Samantha Larson, Damien Marts, and Clint Matthews.
Adding their talents and time to the production also are Sarah Moses, Scott Needham, Doug Pope, Serenity Richards, David Spivey, Daniel Strouble, Ashleigh Sumner, and Mike Wannagot.
Tickets are $12.50 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $5 for students. This show will round out the University Players season.
For more information or to reserve tickets, please contact the department of communication and theater arts at (828) 227-7491.