January 6, 2009
WVU Parkersburg Theatre Department to present "The Fox."
CONTACT: Andrew Clovis, production director, 304-424-8295.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Theatre Department at West Virginia University at Parkersburg will present Allan Miller’s dramatic adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s controversial novella, "The Fox," Jan. 16-18 in the college theatre.
Show time is 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17 with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on Jan. 18.
Admission is free. The play is for mature audiences due to violent and sexual situations.
Set in rural England in 1918, "The Fox" tells the story of two women, Nellie March and Jill Banford, who are living together as a couple despite the social mores of the day. They have isolated themselves in a country cottage in the south of England after leaving their native London. March, played by WVU Parkersburg alumnus Wendy Smith, dresses as a man and tends to the hard labor of managing their small farm. WVU Parkersburg alumnus Emily Decker portrays Banford, who "does all the bed watching." March describes their life together as "what we have planned for. This is what we chose."
However, it is obvious that their life is not one of complete domestic tranquility. Into their world comes Henry Grenfel, a young soldier returning from active duty in World War I. WVU Parkersburg junior Brandon Wharton plays Henry who embodies the social attitudes of his day. He forces his way into the women’s relationship and creates a lover’s triangle with tragic results.
"Lawrence’s novella created quite a stir when first published and has continued to arouse great controversy since," noted director Andrew Clovis. "It is unfortunate that in today’s world we are still encountering such issues of gender stereotyping and prejudice," he noted. Clovis characterizes the play as "dealing with violence, obsession, lust, control, sexual ambiguity and an ubar-masculine viewpoint."
Despite the controversial nature of the play, the play has become a family affair for one group of individuals. Emily Decker’s two sons (both WVU Parkersburg students), daughter, and husband Kenny, are all involved in the production.
Decker noted that working with her family has been "nice for all of us to get together doing the same thing, something together that involves all of us." Though the play involves violent and sexual content, "Episodes of 'Family Guy' are more extreme…and not nearly as much fun…and the evening news certainly is," she added.
"I’ve grown very interested in the play—enough not to want to know the ending until the performance," said Kurtis Decker, a WVU Parkersburg freshman who is serving as the production's props master.
Older brother Robert Decker, who has been working on set construction, noted that his favorite part of participating is the opportunity to "see a story happen in the environment that you yourself had a hand in creating." Brenna Decker, who attends Pleasants County Middle School and, among other things, designed the play poster, said, "It’s just been fun."
Other designers for the production include college faculty Maureen Modesitt, Jeff Byrd and Clovis. Modesitt and Clovis have costumed the three-person ensemble. Clovis and Byrd have designed the set, lights and sound with construction assistance from several WVU Parkersburg students and WVU Parkersburg alumnus Patrick Garvey.
Additional information about the production is available by contacting Clovis or Jeff Byrd, the play's producer, at 304-424-8295.