Stillwater Theatre, Meredith’s professional theatre company in residence, will present the regional premiere of “Ether Steeds” by North Carolina native Jason Williamson under the stars at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh, May 26-29 and June 5-8. All shows are at 8 p.m.
“Stillwater Theatre is very excited to present Ether Steeds.” said Meredith Associate Professor of Theatre Steven Roten, Stillwater's artistic director and the director for this production, “The script has a lyrical quality and rhythm to it that grants it a unique timelessness.”
The play itself presents the story of Skeeta, a young girl growing up in the Outer Banks. Her tale is told in Jason Williamson’s poetic language that draws on both the rich Southern tradition of storytelling and the deep (and almost forgotten) Celtic roots of the Outer Banks’ population.
“I’ve spent part of pretty much every summer of my life on the Outer Banks, or somewhere else on the coast of N.C. So, the N.C. beach is a place that resonates deeply with me,” said playwright Jason Williamson.
When asked to reflect on the mythical themes presented in Ether Steeds, Williamson said “I’m a big fan of mythology of all kinds, but especially Celtic, because it’s my cultural heritage. In my experience, however, not many people of Scotch-Irish background know much about their Celtic cultural past (especially not in the South, where the main wave of Scotch-Irish immigration came so long ago). This was definitely true of me until I started doing my own research. In a way, Ether Steeds is about how a person can find meaning and self-actualization by exploring their cultural legacy.”
“It’s part of Stillwater’s mission to present new works by current playwrights” said Steven Roten. “When you add in the facts that the script is from a North Carolina native and its North Carolina setting is integral to the work, producing it was an easy decision.”
The play is being presented outdoors on the A.E. Finley Rooftop Terrace at the NCSU J.C. Raulston Arboretum. “This is the first time we’ve collaborated with the J.C. Raulston Arboretum,” said Roten. “The A.E. Finley Rooftop Terrace provides the perfect setting for this script. Its blend of natural elements with an accessible location is sure to strike the right tone with audience and our performers.”
Chris Glen, education director of the Arboretum is also excited by the idea of presenting a theatrical production at the arboretum and said “this is the first time we have had a play take place in the gardens, we have had plenty of other events but never a play. It sounds like a wonderful evening.”
“We have an extremely talented cast and we are looking forward to presenting it for Triangle audiences.” said Roten. “I have added a few tweaks to how we go about telling the story. I have added two Greek chorus members or as I call them, ‘play enablers’. They assist in adding visual and aural elements to the play."
The play will be presented Thursday-Sunday, May 26-29, and June 5-8. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for Students / Senior / Meredith Faculty & Staff / Arboretum Members.
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