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PHOTO BY KEN MCCOY PREPARING TO PRESENT NEW PLAYS — Stetson Theatre Arts’ stage manager Shay Figueroa participates in a staged reading of “Let’s Hear It!: A Reader’s Theatre Staging of New Plays.”

Production features staged readings performed by student-actors

BY SANDRA CARR AND REED BARKOWITZ

SPECIAL TO THE BEACON

Stetson University Theatre Arts is beginning its 116th season with “Let’s Hear It!: A Reader’s Theatre Staging of New Plays,” directed by Ken McCoy, Ph.D., professor of theatre arts at Stetson. The staged readings run Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 23-26, at Stetson’s Second Stage Theatre in the Museum of Art – DeLand, 600 N. Woodland Blvd.

“The staged readings are a wonderful way for Stetson University Theatre Arts to introduce new plays by local playwrights to the community,” said McCoy. “It also is a great performance opportunity for Stetson’s students and provides them with a chance to bring a new production to life in its infancy.”

Here are the offerings:

Becoming Cherokee by McCoy is at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23. The play features two brothers from California who inherit acreage in Oklahoma from an unknown relative. They are soon confronted with heretofore unknown Cherokee relatives who are stewards of the land. The brothers are faced with the decision of whether to keep the land and embrace their own Cherokee heritage and ancestry, or sell it for cash to stimulate their professional careers on the West Coast.

Across the Atlantic by Gretchen Suárez-Peña will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. This story is based on an actual woman who is mentioned in Spanish journals from the conquest of the Americas. Madalena is an Indigenous Tocobaga woman from Florida. She is taken captive and enslaved by the Spanish empire to then become an intermediary and translator for the Spanish crown.

Lost in history, save only for her mention in a friar’s journal, Madalena’s story travels from Florida through the Caribbean, across the Atlantic and back again. A tale of mystery, faith, life and death gives an account erased from the Colonial history of the Americas.

Emperor Tide by Lori Snook, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Stetson, takes the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. The one-act play is about the two characters, Carter and Tyson, who are heading to the beach to celebrate their anniversary. As the tide starts to come in, they look out at the ocean and spend an evening together. Yet, the tide keeps coming and coming.

Smoke-Cross’d Lovers – A Comedic Tragedy in Two Acts by Stetson alumnus Mark Aloysius Kenneally and his wife, Nicole Kenneally, will be presented after Emperor Tide on Saturday, Sept. 25.

In this story, a respiratory therapist and adamant nonsmoker crosses paths with a carefree chain smoker with a cough-in-the-face-of-death mentality, and sparks immediately start to fly. Can their opposing viewpoints ever dampen enough to allow them to somehow meet in the middle? And if so, will they ever be able to find any redeeming qualities in each other’s way of life that they never found in their own?

Beyond the Summer of Love by Jim Moss is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26. Andrea has arrived at her mother’s home to collect her rebellious daughter, Olivia, who has decided to skip her senior year of high school and remain in Olympia, Washington.

Cilla, an original flower child of the 1960s, is fine with her granddaughter shacking up with an older man named Gifford. When Andrea discovers the details, a battle of the generations ensues. Andrea attempts to blackmail Gifford, and Cilla reveals why she gave up Andrea to be raised by her own mother.

The members of the ensemble cast performing these plays are Avery Heck, Catharine Remey, Ca’Leo Carty, Hugh Kiser, Jackson Gray, Josh Camden, Josh Dennis, Liz Miller, Logan Castaneda, MJ Aleman, Maddie Lemieux, Rachel Harrison, Rose Johnson and Sianah Small.

Each reading will be followed by a talkback and discussion session with the playwright and cast. Seating is extremely limited. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Masks are required. Admission is free.

Tickets will be available at the door, and reserved tickets must be picked up 30 minutes prior to the start of the performance. The box office will be open one hour prior to curtain.

For the box office, to make reservations and for more information, call 386-822-8700.

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