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Pygmalion to be Staged at Williams

3/29/2010

The Williams Baptist College Theatre Department will close its 2009-2010 season with George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The classic play will be staged Thursday and Friday, April 15 and 16, at 7:30 p.m., according to Melinda Williams, assistant professor of communication arts at WBC.

"Our theme this year has been musicals," Williams stated. "And although Pygmalion is not a musical, it is the play that the musical My Fair Lady is based on."

The play tells the story of a girl, Eliza Doolittle, who sells flowers on the street, and her desire to be a lady who could work in a shop. Henry Higgins, a master of dialects, makes a bet with a colleague that he can accomplish this for Doolittle.

"It is classified as a comedy," Williams said. "But, Shaw wrote in what is termed as comedy of ideas. Even though you laugh, it makes you think."

The cast includes Rose Harness of Greers Ferry as Eliza Doolittle; Jason Shifflett of Fayetteville as Henry Higgins; Andy Hayden of Conway as Colonel Pickering; and Katie Williams of Imboden as Mrs. Pearce.

The play will also feature Andi Turner of Tuckerman, Rachel Leach of Pine Bluff, and Cody Robinson of Marion as the Hill family; Kimberly Wells of Ravenden as Mrs. Higgins, Henry’s mother; and Stephen Wantulok of Searcy as Alfred Doolittle. Finishing out the cast is Anna Hayden of Conway and Elizabeth Fehr of Poplar Grove.

The technical crew includes Katie Williams as stage manager, Andi Turner as costume designer, Anna Ranz of Farmington as prop mistress, and Esther Fehr of Poplar Grove as lighting technician.

"I tried to highlight the seniors in this production," Williams said. "Six of the cast members will be graduating in May."

Something else Williams is doing differently is using the assistance of a dialect coach. "The play takes place in London and you have the accents of the street people who are Cockney and then the upper class," Williams explained. "We were privileged that Valerie Paterson of Pocahontas volunteered to help us."

Paterson has been working with the cast not only on accents, but also on characters, meanings of words, and places discussed in the play. "Plus she has some great stories," Williams said.

Admission to the production will be $1 for students and senior citizens and $3 general admission. The play will be held in the old chapel on the WBC campus.

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