“Down the Road” launches Southeastern spring theatre line-up
Contact: Rene Abadie
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Gerrin Narcisse of Lacombe, right, playing the role of serial killer Bill Reach in Southeastern’s performance of “Down the Road,” rehearses a scene with Hallie Green of Baton Rouge and Benjamin Norman of Covington, who play the couple commissioned to write about the murderer. The play runs at the university’s Vonnie Borden Theatre Feb. 16 – Feb. 19.
HAMMOND - “Down the Road,” a psychological drama involving a husband-wife journalist team that becomes involved in the tales of the serial killer they are interviewing, will launch the Southeastern Louisiana University spring theatre season.
Written by American playwright Lee Blessing in 1989, the play will be performed at Southeastern’s Vonnie Borden Theatre from Wednesday, Feb. 16, through Saturday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are free for Southeastern students with their ID, $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students from other universities.
With a small cast of three – the two journalists and the imprisoned serial killer – the play explores the relationship between the young married couple and the killer, whose memoirs they have been commissioned to write.
“I want the audience to leave thinking about how we embrace celebrity in this country,” said Chad Winters, theatre instructor in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts who directed the play. “It’s a positive force in our country, but it also has a negative impact. Is the price of celebrity worth it?”
The story focuses on Dan and Iris Henniman, the husband-wife team writing about serial killer Bill Reach. Throughout the play, the writers face moral dilemmas and uncertainty as Reach reveals the details of the 19 murders he committed.
“As the story progresses they begin to question the ethics behind what they are doing,” said Winters. “Are they turning this killer into a celebrity and selling blood and gore like any other product in this country?”
The play also looks at the moral conflict from a unique perspective. Winters says the audience will see the play through the eyes of the writers, taking the journey with them.
“The audience will be curious about how the killer could do such horrible things,” said Winters. “This production will get under your skin and make you listen.”
Reviews of other productions of this play agree that audience members will experience the emotional roller coaster ride the characters take. From dark, chilling details of the crimes, to the light-hearted comedy of neighborly drama, the play has been called an intense experience for audience and cast members alike.
“This subject really fascinates me,” said Winters. “I like to work on psychological plays and explore what makes people tick: why do we have such a fascination with celebrity in this country? Why do people commit such horrible crimes? How can we stop them from happening again?”
Cast members of the play include: Benjamin Norman, Covington, playing Dan Hennimen; Hallie Green, Baton Rouge, playing Iris Hennimen; and Gerrin Narcisse, Lacombe, playing Reach. The stage manager for the production is Veronica Gutierrez. Steve Schepker, professor in the Department of Fine and Visual Arts, has designed the set and lights for the production.
The Southeastern Department of Fine and Performing Arts holds productions every semester, which range from Shakespearean remakes to original works by faculty and students. For more information on the theatre program, go to www.selu.edu/theatre.