CSM Students to Perform at Lexington, Ky. Fringe Festival

Kahrig Chatmon of Waldorf rehearses as the character Screaming Wolf

College Bested More Than 100 Theater Programs to Present Original Works

The College of Southern Maryland theatre program has been chosen to present an original work entitled “Wolf” at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Lexington, Ky., March 6. “This is an honor for our program as we were competing with 100 other well-known theater programs in the region to perform one of the seven original plays in the Fringe Festival,” said CSM Fine Arts Technical Director and Assistant Professor Keith Hight.

“Fringe theater is a term used to describe alternative theater, or entertainment outside of the mainstream,” said Hight, and the characters and themes in “Wolf” reflect that.

“‘Wolf’ is a secular humanist manifesto using three stories to challenge western understanding of religion,” said the play’s author Jon Fitts who uses wolves, Native Americans and puppies to portray singer/songwriter John Lennon, Apostle Judas Iscariot and German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in philosophical debates.

“This is a fun show of what would happen if the wolf from ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ goes on trial,” said Hight. “Set in a juxtaposed world of fairytale and philosophy, ‘Wolf’ is the challenge to be true to oneself despite a world of opposition. The characters must embrace the spirit of the underdog to find a way to stand for what they believe is right, even in the face of death.”

The cast of CSM students making the trip to Kentucky includes Kahrig Chatmon and Rami Essa of Waldorf, Kierra McKenzie of Bryans Road, Amanda Woodford, Kevin Kirk and Lydia Huffman of La Plata and John Clayton of White Plains.

“I’ve never done an original piece like ‘Wolf,’” said Kirk who portrays the district attorney prosecuting Wolf. “This is a really good show that would be fun for people who remember the story of 'Red Riding Hood' from childhood, but exciting enough to keep the MTV generation entertained.”

The 61st convention, including representatives from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, will host more than 4,000 thespians for the southeast’s largest theater conference. In addition to performances, students will hear guest speakers such as Broadway actor Tituss Burgess of “Jersey Boys” and “The Little Mermaid,” Judith Malina, founder of The Living Theatre, and Liz Lerman of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

Hight, the son of a musical director, gained experience in two local theaters near Fayetteville, N.C., where he was often given the opportunity to quickly learn a song or play a role. Hundreds of leads, bit parts, set and directing jobs later, including working with Josh Logan, the director who discovered Marilyn Monroe, and Mercedes McCambridge, the woman behind the devilish voice in “The Exorcist,” he arrived at CSM for the Fall 2009 semester and has directed several productions, including “Poe!Poe!Poe!,” “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Home on the Mornin’ Train.”

Hight received a bachelor of arts in dramatic literature and performance from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a master of education in curriculum and the arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., and a master of fine arts in theatre pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

For information on the Southeastern Theatre Conference and Fringe Festival, visit http://www.setc.org/conventions/index.php. To view the Southeast Theatre Conference program, visit http://www.setc.org/conventions/docs/2010_convention_program.pdf. For information on upcoming fine arts events at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/FineArts/.