Original Play to Premiere at Gardner-Webb University

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“I-Ya-I-Ya-O” Takes Stage at GWU’s Millennium Playhouse Nov. 19-22

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University and the Department of Theatre Arts will present the premiere of the comedy “I-Ya-I-Ya-O” from Nov. 19-22 in the Millennium Playhouse on campus.

Dr. Doug Bryan, associate provost for academic development at Gardner-Webb, wrote “I-Ya-I-Ya-O.” It will be his second play to premiere at the University, following “Rummaging for Will” in 2013.

“Three or four years ago I taught a playwriting class that Doug audited,” shared Jim Thomas, dean of the GWU School of Performing and Visual Arts and the play’s director. “Doug wrote the best play in the course, and his ‘Rummaging for Will’ was very successful on the stage. This play, ‘I-Ya-I-Ya-O,’ is even better than the last one. It’s just funny. Doug’s strength as a playwright is writing plot twists, and the audience will see that in this production.”

The play focuses on three retired missionaries who set out to rescue a niece from what they believe to be an ill-fated romance and engagement to a religious con man. The first act centers on the group that calls itself the “I-Ya Club,” in reference to their mission experiences in Africa. In the second act, the niece learns about the group’s grand plan and the audience discovers the relationship’s outcome.

The play was inspired by people Bryan has known, as well as the world’s challenge of dealing with stereotypes. “While the characters, their eccentricities and the plot are completely fictional, the love for character is real,” Bryan offered. “I hope the audience will be entertained. Through comedy and hopefully with reflection, they might identify with some of the characters and might appreciate the complexity of human nature and of perennial questions.”

“I-Ya-I-Ya-O” will take the stage Nov. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. each night and Nov. 22 for a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Children 12 and younger will be admitted for free, and Gardner-Webb students, faculty and staff get in free with identification.

For tickets or more information, visit gardner-webb.edu/theatre-arts, call the GWU Box Office at 704-406-2066 or contact Rachel Alexander at rsams@gardner-webb.edu.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Call 704-406-4253 or email servicerequests@gardner-webb.edu with your request.

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 not only for professional success but for lives marked by empathy, compassion and a commitment to service on the broadest scale.