April 16, 2014
GALESBURG—Due to popular demand, Carl Sandburg College Theatre is taking the unprecedented step of presenting encore performances of its spring play, “Nothing Natural.”
The performances will take place at 7 p.m. April 25-26 in the Fine Arts Theater on the Main Campus in Galesburg, 2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd. Written and directed by Sandburg assistant professor of theater Susan Sharp, the docudrama recounts the true story of the days before, during and after the tragic New London, Texas, school explosion in 1937. Caused by a natural gas leak, the disaster killed nearly 300 people and affects the community to this day.
Tickets for each show can be reserved by calling 309.345.8511 and paid for at the door prior to each performance. Admission is $5 for adults; $2 for seniors and students; and free for Sandburg students, faculty and staff with a College ID. Children under 10 will not be permitted, and strobe lights will be in use during the performance. A discussion about the tragedy will follow each performance.
“I first became interested in the story back in 2004 and began a draft that sat in a box until 2012, when I picked it back up again,” Sharp said. “I recently completed my research in Texas, and I’ll be glad to bring this little-known event to light.”
The large cast of adults and children portrays real people and their stories. Chris Dilworth, Galesburg, plays a radio announcer whose actions became a pivotal part of the story.
“My character is really the glue to all the separate events that happen,” Dilworth said. “It’s a phenomenal role.”
An ensemble piece, all actors play multiple characters. Sophomore Allen Lee, Knoxville, leads the set crew as well as playing a handful of characters.
“When I first read the play and learned that all the characters were real people, I was shocked,” Lee said. “What a fun and challenging task to portray them.”
“Combining my love of history and research with drama has been a very rewarding endeavor,“ Sharp said. “We feel so strongly that the audience will want to talk about the story. We hope you will ask, as we have, “‘Why haven’t I ever heard about this event before?’”
The 30-member cast and crew includes area children and older adults, but a majority of the talent is Sandburg students.
“Every challenging task I throw at our students, they rise to the occasion,” Sharp said. “I couldn’t be more proud that this show is largely the product of our local talent.”
‘NOTHING NATURAL’ CAST AND CREW
Carl Sandburg College students — Melissa Ast, Kim Bond, Dakota Carman, Matt Connors, Chris Dilworth, Francis Fiemawhle, Allen Lee, Thomas Mitchell, Blas Nache, April Newman, Logan Patch, Ingrid Ricketts, Andrea Spainhour, Jade Thompson, Aron Whitehurst, Kelsey Winkler.
Area high school students — Alison Ast, Natasha Brandt, Cody McNeely, Robert Spurgeon.
Area elementary school students — Katie Douglas, Brent Henrikson, Daegen Hidden.
Sandburg alumni — John Henrikson, Mark Reisenbigler, Paige Rohweder, Mike West.
Community members — Douglas Lindhurst, Stephanie Weiss.
Cast members for "Nothing Natural" rehearse a scene, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during a recent dress rehearsal in the Fine Arts Theatre. Due to popular demand, encore performances of the play will take place April 25-26.