Gardner-Webb Theatre Offers World Premiere of Original Play

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Dr. Doug Bryan’s Rummaging for Will Launches New Season of Productions 

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The Gardner-Webb School of Performing and Visual Arts Theatre Department opened its fall semester season with Rummaging for Will, a production written by the University’s own Dr. Doug Bryan, associate provost for Academic Development. This dramady explores why sometimes life may actually begin at the age of 40. Performances were held Aug. 23-24 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 25 at 2:30 p.m. in the Millennium Theatre, located in the Communications Studies Hall.

Bryan originally wrote Rummaging for Will as an individual class project during an advance playwright course he took last summer under the direction of the Dean of the School of Performing and Visual Arts, Jim Thomas.  The play also received input and minor changes by the advance playwright class before it was shared with an audience.

“It started out as a one act but evolved,” said Thomas, who serves as the director.  “The response to a public reading was overwhelming and made my decision to take it to the stage easy.”

Rummaging for Will is a domestic comedy with a focus on serious life issues, which are heartfelt, and relatable to an adult audience.

“It’s a character driven play,” said Bryan.  “The story is about a man (Will) and his wife who are nearing a divorce.  Will’s mother has died and her estate is being settled, which forces the couple to relive memories.  I hope the play makes us realize that no matter how old we are, we still should seek new endeavors.”

The play has a cast of four featuring community and regional talents. Chris Nelson, associate professor of Theatre Arts for Gardner-Webb, plays the title role, and Geraldine “Denay” Martin, Kyrin Billinsky and Darby Foust round out the cast.

“I hope after an audience member attends our production they will take time to reflect how they’re living their life and how it effects others.  We also must be able to forgive,” reflected Bryan.

Bryan, a native of South Carolina, has worked at Gardner-Webb for 11 years in several capacities, and he also serves as the interim minister of education at Boiling Springs (N.C.) Baptist Church.  Bryan has previously written numerous music compositions.  Bryan’s hobby is hymn writing, where he adds lyrics to existing classic tunes.  He also wrote the official theme song for Gardner-Webb’s Centennial celebration.

A “meet the playwright” reception was held after Friday night’s performance and audience members were encouraged to attend.  More information on other upcoming productions is available by calling the School of Performing and Visual Arts at 704-406-4362.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for professional success and for productive citizenship.