Last weekend Zoe Spangler, senior theatre and applied critical thought and inquiry (ACT-In) major, put on her senior show in Peters Theatre. An adaptation of Jeffrey Hatcher’s 1992 play “Scotland Road,” this show features a silent young woman (Hannah Fuhlhage, sophomore theatre major) who was found floating on an iceberg. She was dressed in vintage (1912) clothing and uttered the single word “Titanic” before collapsing. Throughout the show this young woman was held in an intimidatingly bare room with garishly white walls and no windows. While there, she was interrogated by the increasingly abusive John Jacob Astor (Romeo Shaw), descendent of the wealthiest victim of the Titanic, and Dr. Halbrech (Zoe Spangler).
Described as “a study of obsession, not just as a personality trait but as the source of creativity, the fountainhead from which both art and madness spring,” by Lloyd Rose, staff writer for The Washington Post, this show has historically been considered controversial for its use of the Titanic as the focus point of an avant-garde exploration.
Regardless of its general reputation, the show was a unique choice to perform with the William Jewell College Theatre Company and a challenge for the students who acted in it. With a small cast of four and a deeply psychological storyline, this show was unlike those usually organized by students and performed in Peters Theatre.
Katherine Watts, senior accounting major, acted as Ms. Frances Kittle in this rendition of “Scotland Road,” and said the experience was “a really big learning process.”
Fuhlhage agreed. “For me, it was a little difficult trying to connect with my character because for a while I wasn’t sure whether or not she was real,” she said.
Abstract themes and all, Spangler’s show was well received by large audiences at both performances. Comprised of both Jewell students and community members, the audiences were attracted to the combination of cynicism and comedy.
When asked about why she chose “Scotland Road” for her senior show, Spangler said she wanted something new.
“I wanted to choose a show that was going to be stimulating, yet interesting, I wouldn’t get bored with it and that I could easily build, like scenery-wise, with only $300.00. Furthermore, I think the show itself was really compelling to me, something about the absurdism, the sort of avant-gardeness of the storyline itself,” she said.
Spangler’s thought-provoking take on “Scotland Road” was a culmination of hard work and energy of all those involved. Further, the entire process offered Jewell actors and actresses an opportunity to develop and enhance their skills, the evident proof of this being unbridled passion in the faces of these characters as they took to the stage on opening night.
As Spangler said, “[it] was worth all of the time, effort, tears, love and joy we put into it.”