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"Opened Mail" Play

By Tyler D'Angelo
On February 9, 2017

The play is intended for matrure audiences only.
Photo Courtesy of Tyler D'Angelo

The city of Athens isn’t a regular city. A community resides here; a community with a strong sense of belonging. Although Athens isn’t in New York or Chicago, there are many ways its townspeople can get involved and Concord University is doing just that. With the growing theatre program at the university, the options are becoming readily available, not only for students that go there, but for the community. Karen Vuranch, instructor of Communication Arts and Director of the Theatre Program, gives more insight on what Concord is doing to bring the community together through the arts.

    “Readers Theatre is a style of interpretive reading where you don’t memorize the lines. You just use a music stand to hold your script, interpret the work and you look at the audience,” says Vuranch. A play called “Opened Mail,” has started at the university and it is a part of this Readers Theatre style. Vuranch goes on to explain the play saying that it is a comedy portrayed as a series of letters. She says that the play involves nine comical stories passed between two people. “From two nuns who are not speaking to each other, to a woman writing to a prisoner in jail, to an alternative view of George Washington, the play is a funny and comical evening, performed as a staged reading,” says Vuranch.

    The play is very easy for anyone to get involved with. There’s flexible casting that is open for students, faculty, or staff. Students can earn one credit hour for this play as well. “It’s an easy play to pull off for anybody who wants to do something a little extra this semester. I’ve had 12 people audition and everyone [is] getting a role,” Vuranch states. This is also good for the community because it is free to students and the public. Vuranch has been an actor for 30 years and she says she wants to get the entire campus community involved. Vuranch says, “This is an inclusive project. The idea is to bring the community together in whatever way we need to.”

    With her interest in bringing the community together, a good turnout for auditions resulted. Vuranch said that she had a former student rehearse for the play but she had to transfer for various reasons. That didn’t leave an open spot because her boyfriend still goes here and will be in the play. She goes on to say that a faculty member’s husband will participate as well. Vuranch explains the good turnouts for the audition saying, “There was a good turnout for auditions because there’s an interest for doing theatre and it was advertised as something that was fairly simple. It’s short rehearsal spans and no line memorization.” She says it’s not only inclusive, but accessible as something anyone can do who is willing to get involved in hopes to get the campus community behind it.

    The play will take place Thursday, February 23 and Friday, February 24 at 7:00 P.M. in the Paul Theatre. Vuranch makes it clear that the play is intended for mature audiences only. “[The letters] are a little bit racy, but we’re going to un-race them a little bit. We’re going to clean them up a little bit in terms of language and content just to make them more palpable for a southern West Virginia audience,” she says. Vuranch says that directing is very rewarding to her and she had fun being the one to pull the strings on this project. Although the play is free to the public, donations for the Fine Arts Banquet will be accepted. Vuranch has had her own theatre company and has done her own shows and wants the campus community to come out and watch, it should be good.

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