Our students shine on stage and behind the scenes. Come see the many ways that the
university's theatre and dance performances enhance the arts scene in Columbia, South
Carolina and the Midlands.
2023-2024 Theatre Season
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
October 6-14, 2023
From Louis Sachar's Wayside School Novels Adapted for the stage by John Olive Directed by Ilene Fins
Drayton Hall Theatre
Things are always a bit wonky at the 30-story Wayside Elementary – the building’s
only one classroom wide, for starters, and its 19th floor has mysteriously ceased
to exist. It’s in mean Mrs. Gorf’s top-floor class, however, where things have gone
completely sideways. Known for punishing students by magically turning them into apples,
she finds herself the victim of her own spell and soon becomes lunch for a hungry,
passing teacher! Based on Louis Sachar’s best-selling children’s books, Sideways Stories from Wayside School is a wild, wacky adventure full of fun and surprises, with some valuable lessons
to share along the way.
Enjoy a fast-paced evening of laughter, heartbreak and everything in between as we
present a collection of 10-minute plays, each directed by a different member of our
theatre performance faculty. “A ten-minute play is a streak of theatrical lightning.
It doesn’t last long, but its power can stand your hair on end.” (Take Ten, Vintage Books)
Written by Matthew López Directed by Jessica Francis Fichter
Life’s been “all shook up” for Casey, an aspiring Elvis impersonator struggling to
make it in showbiz. He’s broke, facing eviction, and just found out his wife is pregnant.
To make matters worse, he’s about to lose his only gig at a local dive bar to a much
more successful drag act. The only way he can survive? Ditch “The King” and learn
to embrace his inner Queen! Tony®-winning playwright Matthew Lopez’s hit Off-Broadway
comedy is a glittering, music-filled story of identity and acceptance, described as
“stitch-in-your-side funny” (The New York Times) and “a glorious tribute to the art of drag” (Variety). Contains adult themes and language.
Written by Naomi Iizuka Directed by Abigail Lee McNeely
Set in the hills of Appalachia, Language of Angels is a haunting, modern-day folk tale that takes us into the liminal space between life
and death, past and present. Acclaimed playwright Naomi Iizuka (Polaroid Stories) poetically weaves together the individual remembrances of a group of friends whose
lives and tragic fates have become inextricably linked to the mysterious disappearance
of their friend, Celie, years prior. “With Language of Angels, Iizuka has created a Rashomon-like meditation on the nature of memory, grief and passing time.” – Seattle Times. Contains adult themes and language.
Written by Lorraine Hansberry Directed by Ron Himes
Langston Hughes wrote, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin
in the sun?” Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece has pondered that question
on stages worldwide since its debut in 1959 and is still as vital and compelling today.
The divergent dreams of the three generations of an African-American family, living
together in a small apartment on Chicago’s South Side, begin to clash when a large
insurance settlement arrives in the mail. Tensions increase as their individual aspirations
to make a better life are tested by an outside world of racism and economic discrimination,
threatening to rip apart their family forever. “Never before, in the entire history
of the American theater, has so much of the truth of Black people’s lives been seen
on the stage.” -- James Baldwin
Written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt Translated by Maurice Valency Directed by Craig Miller
Profound questions of class, greed, and ethics infuse Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s classic
tragicomedy, The Visit. When one of the world’s wealthiest women makes a long-awaited return to her impoverished
hometown, she arrives with a vindictive agenda and a devil’s bargain – she’ll gift
the town an extravagant fortune in exchange for the life of the man who abandoned
her decades before. What follows is an epic test of the town’s moral fortitude and
an unsparing, darkly comic look at the easy corruptibility of justice. "A devastating
drama." - The New York Times
Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.