“On the Verge” to Show in the Harry Hope Theatre

Written by Michael Rouleau

Willimantic, Conn. – From Oct. 7–12, the Performing Arts Department and Drama Society at Eastern Connecticut State University will present its first production of the semester, “On the Verge; or the Geography of Yearning.” The play is a comedy and pop culture commentary that follows the expedition of three Victorian women explorers. Their journey to “Terra Incognita” (Latin for “Lands Unknown”) takes them through space and time, from 1888 to 1955, happening upon nine diverse characters along the way.

While Professor F. Chase Rozelle III has served as the Theatre Department’s technical director for many years, “On the Verge” is the first Eastern production he has directed. “I love the language and the premise of the play; the script is really strong. The humor is great; it’s both slapstick and intellectual,” said Rozelle.

Caitlighn Foley (Mary), Stephanie Madden (Alex), and Sarah Oschmann (Fannie) play Victorian lady explorers in “On the Verge; or The Geography of Yearning.”

“On the Verge” stars four student actors. The three explorers are loosely based off real-life Victorian women, and played by Caitlighn Foley (Mary), a sophomore majoring in theatre and accounting; Stephanie Madden (Alex), a junior majoring in psychology and theatre; and Sarah Oschmann (Fanny), a senior majoring in theatre. The aforementioned remaining nine characters are all played by junior biology major John Paul DeVeglia. “We cast for the play in the spring and started rehearsal the first day of classes,” said Rozelle. “I have a dream cast. Every day we have so much fun.”

The play was originally written in 1985 by Eric Overmyer, and utilizes witty, esoteric language and humor typical of the Victorian era. Among the nine characters played by DeVeglia is a yeti, who adds to the comedy of the play. Costume designer and new faculty member Amanda Whitfield has had a large impact upon the production as well. “Her costumes are phenomenal. Amanda is a most creative artist,” said Rozelle. The production team also includes two Eastern alumni: Gabriel Luxton ’11 is the production’s sound designer and Matthew Pryke ’12 is the lighting designer.

The play will run from Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 7–11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Harry Hope Theatre. There will be a Sunday, Oct. 12, matinee at 4 p.m. For reservations, call the box office at 860-465-5123.