In a world full of Gus Waters and Hazel Grace, Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River anthology is like a black and white picture of our modern world with settings of 1900s.
The Skyline Theatre Club presented “The Spoon River Project” adapted by Tom Andolora for the Spoon River anthology, set in the graveyards of 1900s is a ride back in time, where you witness the former residents of spoon river examining life and longing for what might have been. As the citizens reflect on the dreams, secrets and regrets off their lives, they paint a gritty and honest portrait of the town as of all of their pasts are illuminated.
“The Spoon River Project” was played from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17 at the Skyline Theatre. The running time for the play was ninety minutes without intermission.
“Skyline’s Theatre Club’s production of “Spoon River” was a quiet reflection on the fragility of life. The show was poetic, and haunting, shown both through a beautiful set design, and a stillness and focus from the actors. The overarching tone was solemn, however some moments of elation were awarded to the audience through various musical numbers and ensemble pieces. Overall, it was a rooted, reflective performance.” Said Erin Perry, member of the audience.
“The type of characters that I play were the kind of ones that did backhanded things in order to make the things work. You know my character did a lot of like backstabbing like my character killed one of the family members to progress or the sort off like a jealous husband, but like basically my entire life I was just sort of privileged” said Francisco Arroliga-Miranda, the actor who played (Searcey Foote, Tom Merrit, Hamilton Greene, Deacon Taylor). When asked how he could relate to one of his characters “I feel like with each one of our characters there is a way for me, sort of like having for the audience to empathize with them, each one of these. I can specifically say like each one my characters felt like I shared something with them. Like there’s been moments that I really know I would like to do something underhanded in order to progress but I never have. So, you know, just sort of having the audience empathize with each one of the characters and sort of see if like you know they can sort of take something from it and have them kind of like go outside of the theater and kind of like, Okay, well, you know, I felt that way before, you know, I’ve never acted on it, but now that I see that how you know if I did act on it, what would happen would potentially could have happened.”said Arroliga.
Furthermore, a lot of the actors spoke about how their characters shed light on the social issues and the problems today.
“Our characters all for the most part are kind of reaching for something and wishing for something that we didn’t have while we were alive. You can see that by just studying the stories that were telling that there was something that we could have done differently. So for the audience to see that. We’re in the same situations, you know, Humans don’t change too much. Over time, fundamentally, so seeing our lost. So The audience sees our characters losses and seeing what we our character did in our lives and how we carry ourselves, how we take our own character. The way they can see maybe then they are able to learn something they’ll be able to do something differently. Yeah, they won’t have the loss that we have, and the regrets that we have but they’d have another beginning or ending,” said Elian Fontanilla, Soloist / Actor (Zenas Witt, Archibald Higbie, Daniel McCumber, Elmer Carr, Soldier).
The cast and crew in total had 15 actors therefore it lead to one person playing a lot of character and jobs of and on the stage upon which Lyn Azucena, Stage Manager / Actress (Nellie Clark, Mary McNeely, Lydia Puckett) and Salma Zepeda, Stagehand/Actress (Sarah Brown, Rosie Roberts, Elsa Wertman, Daisy Fraiser) stated that as an actor it was challenging for them to express so many different sentiments at the same-from being full of emotions to being stoned. The play in all was a learning experience for the cast and crew, and for the audience it was a beautiful balance between past and present.
Like Salma’s character, Minerva Jones says it “I thirsted so for love I hungered so for life”.