Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright, María Irene Fornés describes her play, “Mud”, as “an example of what is possible.” Mirroring the impoverished and lonely conditions in the human mind, the West Virginia University School of Theatre & Dance’s season opening production explores the struggle of climbing out of the situation we are born into. Come witness the telling of this incredible and chillingly close to home story Sept. 27-Oct. 6 at WVU’s Creative Arts Center.
“Mud”, first performed in 1983, tells the story of Mae, an impoverished young woman who is working hard to get out of her situation. She is constantly being brought down by her counterpart, Lloyd, a young man content to stay in his situation. Into their world steps Henry, a man whom Mae looks up to because of his knowledge and experience in the world (albeit only a slightly more learned that she). Henry comes to stay at Mae’s, but suddenly becomes one more tether tying her to her place in the mud.
Three of our MFA Acting students are highly showcased in this performance of “Mud”. Nicole Jeannine Smith, Liam Michael Holton and Ryan Ernst are not only students of our actor training program, but are professional actors who, have worked all over the United States: from Florida to Michigan, to California! We are excited to have such a high caliber of performers on stage, especially with a show like this that requires intricate fight choreography, physical intimacy and intense vocalization.
“This show is thought provoking, shocking and gritty,” said Nicole Jeannine Smith, second year MFA Acting student playing Mae. “You’ll have plenty to talk about with your friends after seeing this one! It has taught me so much about how I have to push myself as an actor just to embody the struggle of this character. It has been a privilege to play such a challenging role.”
The absurdity of this play makes the circumstances presented in it seem outlandish, too dark and otherworldly, but the reality of the play is quite shocking. Especially here in West Virginia where over 1,200 citizens live with homelessness according to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress and, according to NPR, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as of May 2019, one in three rural Americans express that poverty and homelessness are a real and growing issue in our communities. With this play the School of Theatre & Dance sheds some light on the gritty, unfortunate but very real problem our community is faced with daily.
“‘Mud’ by María Irene Fornés is an abrupt, absurd exploration of a triangular situation between three characters,” said Director Dr. Radhica Ganapathy, Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Criticism. “This thought-provoking work by the great Fornés challenges us to think about the inarticulate ways we express ourselves, juxtaposing the complexities of the human condition and our desire to release ourselves from that which keep us stuck in the mud.”
Scenic design is by Robert Klingelhoefer, Professor of Scene Design; costume design by Mary McClung, Director of Costuming and Professor of Costume Design; lighting and sound design by Alan McEwen, Clinical Associate Professor of Lighting and Sound Design.
Content Warning: Performances of “Mud” contain adult language, description and depiction of sexual situations, verbal and physical abuse, adult humor and gun violence. For mature audiences only. Not
“Mud” will take the stage in the Glady G. Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center. Tickets for “Mud” are available on campus at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center Box Office locations beginning Sept. 27 (Mon. - Fri. 1:30 to 5 p.m.), by calling 304-293-SHOW (7469) and online at ticketmaster.com. Special ticket pricing is available for WVU students with valid ID and senior citizens age 65 and up.