The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University is producing “Great Expectations,” a play that leads audiences through a journey of its characters’ trials and victories.
Based on Charles Dickens’ classic Victorian-era novel and adapted by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, the five performances at the Rainey Fine Arts Building’s Belk Theater run from April 10-13.
“Great Expectations” is highly anticipated on campus, and Robert Homer-Drummond, a professor of theatre, is confident that the play’s message will be impactful. The plot follows Pip, an orphan who becomes a young man of substance despite his many setbacks.
“I think ‘Great Expectations’ is about the process that all of us go through of navigating our way through the pain and disappointments of life and hopefully finding some happiness and peace in the end,” Professor Homer-Drummond said. “Different individuals are more or less successful in that process. Pip makes many mistakes but his essential optimism and openness are what ultimately save him.”
Professor Homer-Drummond was first enthralled by the play as a freshman in college, and he is excited to now bring the story to students at AU and prompt the audience to ask important questions.
“We would hope that ‘Christians’ would be persistent and optimistic as they move through life although that is not always the case,” Professor Homer-Drummond said. “Some of the questions that the play poses for me are: How do we handle the obstacles that come our way? Do we allow them to shape our character in positive ways or defeat us? Do we keep moving even when the way is difficult? Even when we feel that we are stumbling? How willing are we to extend forgiveness to those who purposefully stand in our way? If we extend forgiveness, how does that affect our journey?”
Assistant Director Ian Coulter, a junior theatre student, said the SCSA’s blend of storytelling and exceptional artists who design costumes, sets, props, lighting and sound are sure to bring the inspirational tale to life on stage.
Dr. David Larson, dean of the SCSA, said that Professor Homer-Drummond’s direction will contribute to its unique portrayal of “Great Expectations.”
“Professor Homer-Drummond involves a lot of students. He has a chorus that is going to be in ‘Great Expectations,’ and he always does creative staging,” Dr. Larson said. “He is really good at creating those large-cast, atmospheric experiences. I am very excited about this play.”
“I'm excited because our production of ‘Great Expectations’ uses a different type of storytelling than what we typically perform at Anderson,” Coulter said. “We have a diverse, multi-talented ensemble who all collaborate to narrate Pip's roller-coaster adventure. The result is dynamic, engaging and sure to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.”
Professor Homer-Drummond said the cast is doing a wonderful job, and he has enjoyed watching his students grow in their craft and succeed. He said Jessica Trementozzi Scott, a very-talented graduate of the program, has created a set that will catch the audience up in story, and he has enjoyed directing alongside Coulter.
“All our wonderful performers dive into their roles with such energy, intelligence and determination,” Coulter said. “It has been a blessing to collaborate with them and I cannot wait to see them showcase the hours of hard work they poured into ‘Great Expectations.’”