Centenary Theatre Program presents Sam Shepherd’s “True West” at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse
SHREVEPORT, LA — Students in the Centenary Theatre Program have collaborated to produce Sam Shepherd’s True West to culminate the 2020-2021 Centenary theatre season. True West, which one reviewer has called Shepherd’s “masterwork,” will be performed live for Centenary audiences only April 22 through 25. A livestream option for the general public will be available April 30 and May 1.
The live performances for the Centenary community begin at 7:30 p.m. at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on the Centenary campus. Masks are required and there will be limited seating to maintain adequate social distancing for the audience. The livestream can be accessed at centenary.edu/truewest.
True West, which originally premiered in July 1980 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, opens with the tense reunion of two estranged brothers whose simmering rivalry drives the subsequent action of the play. Centenary’s production is directed by Tucker “PJ” Souther, a junior from Rowlett, Texas. Senior Anthony Castillo, of Granbury, Texas, and junior Charlie Roppolo, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, appear as brothers Austin and Lee, swapping roles throughout the run of the show. They are joined by senior Eliezer Williams, a Shreveport native and graduate of Fair Park High School, as Saul Kimmer, and Dr. Amy Hammond, associate professor of psychology at Centenary, as Mom. Senior Harrison Starrett, a Bossier City native and graduate of Loyola College Prep in Shreveport, serves as production manager for the show.
The Centenary Theatre Program has generally designated one of its four main stage shows each year as a student-directed production by a student enrolled in the Production IV class. This year, explained Harrison Starrett, the class was restructured as a mock theatre company, with various roles fulfilled by all of the students. After discussing two different proposals for the fully student-led production, the class chose Shepherd’s True West as their collective project. The new format allows for input and involvement from the entire class.
“The rehearsal process has been one of great discovery and excitement,” said director Souther. “Every time we step into the room, we find something new to explore this show with. The most surprising part thus far is how easy this process has been. There are so many dedicated people working on this show, in all aspects of production, and it’s evident every time we rehearse."
Souther says that audiences should “expect to be surprised” by True West.
“If the show is done correctly, the audience will be left asking themselves, ‘what’s gonna' happen next?’ at any given moment of the play,” said Souther. “I’m doing everything I can to instill that suspense. An audience for a Sam Shepard play is less of an audience and more of spectators to a brawl, so expect a fight. In a deeper sense, the audience should be able to compare the duality of Austin and Lee’s relationship to that of our own political system: two sides of the same coin duking it out for control that leads to chaos."
More information about the Centenary Theatre Program’s production of True West is available at centenary.edu/truewest.