Southeastern Theatre to present alumna's play

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 High and MIghty
by: Tonya Lowentritt

HIGH AND MIGHTY – Damian Faul of Amite, playing the role of the seminarian Will, attempts to comfort a girlfriend, Caroline, played by Michelle Guillot of Slidell, during rehearsals for the new play “High and Mighty,” which will premiere at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Vonnie Borden Theatre Nov. 17-21. “High and Mighty” is the first play written by Southeastern alumna Donna Gay Anderson of Hammond, retired director of the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts.

     HAMMOND- Southeastern Louisiana University will present a new play titled “High and Mighty” Nov. 17 – 21 as part of the Southeastern Theatre season.
     But this isn’t just any play. It was written by Southeastern alumna and retired Director of the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts and Fanfare Donna Gay Anderson of Hammond.
     Although it is her first venture into playwriting, Anderson is no stranger to theater. Following her graduation from Southeastern, she lived in New York, where she attended the National Shakespeare Conservatory and worked as an actress. Upon her return home, she taught theater at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
     Additionally, her mother, the late Vonnie Borden, was the first theater professor at Southeastern, where she taught for many years. Appropriately, the production will take place in Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall at 7:30 p.m. nightly.
     “Writing this play has been one of the most challenging projects I have encountered, but I have loved every minute,” Anderson said. “Theatre has always been my first love, and I have experienced it professionally from all sides except that of the playwright. The characters are all based on people I knew many years ago in New York, but the story is primarily fiction.”
     The setting is an upper east side Manhattan Presbyterian church in the 1980’s where a group of young adults struggle with their consciences when relationships, morality and emotions tumble. Anderson said the play is not appropriate for young children due to strong language.
     Anderson wrote the book and lyrics for the songs, but engaged Bridget and Drew Zeringue, also Southeastern alumni, to compose the music. Since it is her first play, Anderson turned for guidance to Southeastern Assistant Professor of Theater and Directing Jim Winter, an award-winning playwright.
     Winter read the play, liked it, and wanted to be part of the process of further developing the script. Consequently, he is directing the play.
     “Jim has mentored me through the development process, and I am so honored that he asked for permission to produce the script as a part of the Southeastern Theatre season,” she said. “He has secured the best of the best as creative team and cast, and it shows. I cannot wait to see the production. It is going to be a very special time for me.”
     Southeastern students and fast cast in the production include: Kalee Broussard of Destrehan as Bernie; Olivia Waguespack of Covington as B2; Michelle Guillot of Slidell as Caroline; Rachel Davis of New Orleans as C2; Jaimee Rome of Abita Springs as Belinda; Provence Hatfield of Amite as L2; Damian Faul of Amite as Will; Neal Eli of Luling as W2; Dr. Stephen Rushing of Baton Rouge as McFee; Shelly Sneed of Minden as T-Bone/Ensemble; and Jordin Jones of Harvey as Ensemble.
     General admission tickets are $15; $10 for seniors and non-Southeastern students; and free for Southeastern students with University ID. Tickets go on sale Nov. 9 in the Vonnie Borden Theatre Box Office, located in the main lobby of D Vickers Hall. Tickets may be reserved now by calling the box office at 985-549-2115 and leaving the ticket number requested, a name and contact phone number.
     For more information, contact the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, 985-549-2184.

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