West Liberty Stages World Premiere

Photo Provided From left, Alex Gordon, Grant VanCamp and Callie Carroll are shown rehearsing for their roles in “18 Victoria,” which premieres at Kelly Theatre on Thursday.

WEST LIBERTY — The West Liberty University Hilltop Players will offer theater fans the opportunity to enjoy a world premiere of the new play “18 Victoria” by Cody Daigle-Orians, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday as well as March 1-3, and 3 p.m. March 4.

The playwright will be attending the opening night performance, and the audience will have a chance to meet him at a coffee and pastries reception after Thursday’s performance.

The new production uses a trio of interlocking monologues to tell the story of three siblings — Ben, Catherine and Stephen — who are struggling to piece together their broken family relationship in the wake of their father’s untimely death. But a larger crisis looms.

The need to come to grips is intensified with the news that a huge asteroid is projected to collide with the earth in less than three weeks, setting off devastating consequences for life on earth. The three siblings scramble to mend their family ties and make sense of the devastating secret that originally tore them apart.

Maggie Balsley, who is professor of voice in WLU’s College of Arts and Communication, has worked with the small cast of three student performers to tell the story of siblings who are trying to deal with dark happenings in the past that fractured their family.

Callie Carroll, a junior theater major from Morgantown, will be playing Catherine, and Grant VanCamp, a sophomore theater major from Follansbee, will play Ben.

The third character, Stephen, will be portrayed by recent graduate Alex Gordon of Wheeling, who majored in music technology with a piano emphasis. Gordon also composed the original music score.

The set designer for “18 Victoria” is Chris Rees, a junior theater major from Follansbee, and the lighting and projection design is by Alex Franke, a senior theater and human biology major from Wheeling. Senior theater major Ingrid Young also is involved in the production, performing the duties of photographer. She is from Martinsburg, W.Va.

As the characters share their stories of facing the last days of the human race, they also grapple with memories of their father, a troubled childhood and their shared inability to connect as adults. In an apocalyptic present, it’s the wreckage of the past that endures.

Tickets for all Hilltop Players productions are available through Brown Paper Tickets online. For more information, call the box office at 304-336-8277.

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