The Heart of the Forest

Page 1

The Heart of the forest The story of a girl who challenges an ancient law by trespassing among a gathering of animals who have the ability to change their shapes.

August 7th and 8th, 2015 7:00 PM Summers County Memorial Building

- Act 1 -

Scene 1: The Town at Dusk Lock the doors

Scene 2: Elder’s Home Lock the doors Reprise

Scene 3: The Forest at Night Hello Bear’s Dance

Scene 4: Fox’s Lair Bells

Scene 5: The Heart of the Forest The Forest Spirit The Dance

- Intermission -

- Act 2 -

Scene 1: The Heart of the Forest Scene 2: Another Section of the Woods Scene 3: Fox’s Lair Scene 4: The Forest Meadow Bells Reprise

Scene 5: Fox’s Lair Scene 6: The Town Scene 7: Conference in the woods Good Point

Scene 8: Elder’s Home in the Town All of this trouble I Remember

Scene 9: The Heart of the Forest Scene 10: The Town, a year later Lock The Doors Reprise The Dance Reprise

Cast Town Folk: Nora-Belle - Mary Trent A woman of the town. Works to protect it from the animals. Elder - Gayle Bugg The oldest townsperson; a storyteller who wants the two worlds (Humans/ Animals) to unify again. Olive - Candace Crawford A young woman who wants to join the world of the animals. Kayla - Krystina Gore A woman who seems to appear in many of these shows. Milton - David Ziegler A farmer who is fascinated and also afraid of the animals. Herald - Nicole Rodriguez An older gentleman who has spent many years living in fear of the animals. Animals: Bear - Scott Bennett The first bear, one of the oldest animals in the forest.

Fox - Christopher Clark A collector and admirer of human artifacts. Crow - Kim Smith A vain but heroic bird Forest Spirit - Pam Jeffries The first animal, a source of great magic and change. Vulture - Andrew Weiss A bird who seeks to uphold the separation between animals and humans. Wolf - Isaac Preston A confident yet slightly arrogant animal who is kinder than he seems; although he tends to be a bully to other animals. Alligator - Johnathan Rodriguez The first alligator and one of the oldest animals. Mistrusts humans and not one to take orders. Rabbit - Hannah Gates An ordinary rabbit who may not be as it seems. Other Animals: The other animals are ones who are most likely to dissent. Owl - Mary Trent Raccoon - Krystina Gore Goat - Nicole Rodriguez Blue Jay - Gayle Bugg


Author - Ashleigh Gill Director - Briana Gunter Composer/Music Director - Zack Merritt Set Design/Stage Manager - Carol Jackson Costume Design/“Heart of Forest� Tree - Christopher Lee Clark Sound/Lighting Technician - Saul Harlow Set Construction/Painter - Mary Trent Promotional Materials - Mary Maier


Conductor/Piano - Zack Merritt Violin - Lindsay Moraczewski Cello - Dean Pauley Guitar - Dustin Moraczewski Flute/Piccolo - Shey Dillon Alto Saxophone - Lars Swanson

Orchestra for our 2014 production: Resting Place

- About the Author Ashleigh Gill

(Author, Co-Founder of Ars Creo) Ashleigh Gill is an MFA student of Children’s Literature at Hollins University and holds a BA in English and a BS in Education from Concord University. Ashleigh is a recipient of the 2014 Manchester Writing for Children Prize. She enjoys getting to tell strange stories with magical people, and magical stories with strange people. The Heart of the Forest began as an image of a bear and a woman dancing. I knew they would be friends, but friendship spread through the rest of the story, spawning characters as it went. It sprouted closeness between a fox and a crow, and camaraderie among villains. It began reshaping cultures and changing rules. Before long, it was singing songs too. It’s always a wonderful, difficult thing to write these shows. This, our 7th, speaks more than ever to what makes Ars Creo thrive – learning, change, and the unity of friends.

- About the Composer Zack Merritt

(Composer, Co-Founder of Ars Creo) Rooted in performance, Zack Merritt creates surrealistic, temporal vignettes that encourage audience participation and interpretation. He holds degrees in music composition from Bowling Green State University (M.M.) and Marshall University (B.F.A.). Merritt is currently employed as an Educator at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, WV. In 2009 I made a phone call to Ashleigh Gill and somehow a tradition began. I never dreamed that the first show would actually happen (we almost canceled that production so many times). Something told us to stick with it and work hard and here we are, seven shows later. The Heart of the Forest is a huge, visceral experience that can only be realized in the realm of musical theatre. The entire group has put so much time and energy into this show and we can’t wait to express it with you tonight.

Briana “Bri” Gunter

- About the Director -


Bri is a senior at Concord University studying Public Relations. She has been a part of Ars Creo since their first show in 2009. She is also one of the directors of the Summers County K.I.D.S. in which she has been a part of since 2003. Honestly, from the time that I read this script I thought I was in over my head. My first thought was “how in the world am I going to direct this”? Within the first couple of practices it became apparent to me that our cast and crew knew exactly what to do and right before my eyes they breathed life into this play. Even though this is one of the more complex shows I’ve directed, this cast and crew has made it one of the most easy to direct because they just instinctively know what to do. They’re amazing in how they can bring their characters to life and how they bring the story to life. I’m so happy to have been able to be a part of this group for the past 6 years and I want to thank everyone who has had a hand in keeping the arts alive in our little community. Past Credits: A Thorn by Any Other Name - Mrs. Montague After Ruby Jones - Ruby Jones To The Egress - Gladys Catch - North The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Annabel Resting Place - Director

Carol Jackson

- About the Designers -

(Set Designer/Stage Manager) “A 1978 graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a 2004 graduate of Concord University, Ms. Jackson has been exhibiting her work in juried, group and one-person shows for over three decades. For 17 years, Ms. Jackson created sets and costumes for Summers County Kids in Dramatic Studies. She currently works with the Talcott Drama Club. Ms. Jackson has assisted with sets and costumes with Ars Creo since their inception 7 years ago and continues to enjoy the challenge and wonder of collaborative dramatic performance. Past Credits: A Thorn by Any Other Name - Set Designer After Ruby Jones - Set Designer To The Egress - Set Designer Catch - Set Designer/Stage Manager The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Stage Manager, Props Master Resting Place - Set Designer/Stage Manager

Christopher Lee Clark

(Costume Design/“The Heart of Forest” Tree/Fox) Christopher Lee Clark holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Kentucky in Architecture and Theatre. He works as an architectural designer for E T Boggess Architects. His artwork can be seen on display at the Gary Bowling House of Art as well as many of the murals in Princeton West Virginia. Past roles include Skunk, Ronald, and Mike Stabinsky in As Bees in Honey Drown, captain of police in Cops, Jean in Miss Julie, Robin Starveling in Midsummer Night’s Dream, and various roles in the films Blink, Seraphim, and Bug (which was showed at the Hong Kong film festival). Past Credits: Catch - Governor Peg The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Set Design, The Doctor Resting Place - Sound Technician

Scott Bennett - (Bear)

- Cast Bios -

Scott Bennett is an interim director at the Appalachian South Folklife Center. “Playing a bear in this play is pretty fitting. I used to theorize that humans actually evolved from lots of different animals instead of the commonly accepted primate. That’s why there are bird-like people - small, soft-spoken, gentle and kind, but skittish around other people - and wolf-like people - fearless and loyal but defensive - etc. And I used to think, maybe, just maybe, I descended from that Appalachian wonder, cautious but playful, and quiet until riled, clumsy and stubborn, the black bear.” Past Credits: A Thorn by Any Other Name - Mr. Montague ; After Ruby Jones - Gilby Jones ; Catch - West ; The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Simon ; Resting Place - Granny

Kim Bennett - (Crow) Kim graduated in 2009 from Concord University with a BA in History with an emphasis in Philosophy. This is her fourth performance with Ars Creo. She is currently working as a Quality Assurance Specialist for Dish Network. Past Credits: A Thorn by Any Other Name - Messenger ; After Ruby Jones - Lilith ; To The Egress - Sady

Gayle Bugg - (Elder/Blue Jay) Gayle Bugg holds a BS in Business Administration (Music Minor) from Elizabethtown College. Gayle has performed at the Kennedy Center and National Cathedral with the Choral Arts Society of Washington. Past shows include My Fair Lady and Oliver. She currently works as a medical assistant. Gayle also enjoys sharing the gift of music by directing the choir at the First United Methodist Church of Hinton, performing with the Bluestone Chamber Singers, and singing for special community events. She enjoys gardening and photography. Past Credits: Catch - Vittsjö ; The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Mrs. James Potts ; Resting Place - Traveler

Candace Crawford - (Olive) Candace Crawford is 12 years old. She is a 7th grader at Summers Middle School. This is her 2nd role with Ars Creo, previously portraying Millie in Resting Place. She has performed 4 years with the Summers County K.I.D.S holding roles as Ida in Honk Jr., Ursula in the Little Mermaid,

Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical, the Witch in Into the Woods, and most recently Lord Farquaad in Shrek. Candace enjoys studying pointe ballet, singing and spending time with her family and friends. Past Credits: Resting Place - Millie

Hannah Gates - (Rabbit) Hannah, 17, is a senior at Mercer Christian Academy. Her future plans include attending college to study in musical theatre.

Krystina Gore - (Kayla/Raccoon) Krystina Gore is a rising freshman at SCHS. She has been a part of the KIDS since 2009. Her most recent role was Donkey in Shrek the Musical. Krystina is also a cheerleader for SCHS. This is her first year in Ars Creo.

Pam Jeffries - (Forest Spirit) Pam is a native West Virginian. She is an administrative assistant and semi-retired professional white-water guide. Past performances include Hello Dolly, Carousel, and No, No Nanette. “It’s wonderful to have a group of individuals with such creative skills and talents. They are truly a positive attribute to our community.” Past Credits: To The Egress - Margaret ; Catch - The Builder ; The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Long Nails ; Resting Place - Mother

Isaac Preston - (Wolf) After his failed year of being a goat farmer in the French Alps, Isaac Preston decided to join Ars Creo for his fourth run. Isaac has had many opportunities open for him since joining Ars Creo. He’s a sculpture artist, drummer, poet and all around awesome guy. Past Credits: To The Egress - John Johnson/The Magician ; Catch - Governor Breach ; The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Halfpastfour

Johnathan Rodriguez - (Alligator) Johnathan was born of a father who lives in Cybertron and Azeroth and, as a result, was destined to live in the gaming world. His mother, who has generations of creation, design, and passion, was able to bring him up as an artist with a great amount of potential. Born and raised in Texas, Johnathan moved to West Virginia during his 6th Grade year. He enjoys High School, spending time with his friends, playing 3DS (PokĂŠmon!). Rodriguez is also an avid illustrator and has been working on a comic strip called Crazy Days. Past Credits: The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Sir James Syme ; Resting Place - Beaufort

Nicole Rodriguez - (Herald/Goat) Nicole, age 16, is in 10th grade at Summers County High School. She enjoys creating art as well as acting in different theatrical productions.

Mary Trent - (Nora-Belle/Owl) Mary Trent, age 17, has acted with Ars Creo for two years. She has been a part of the Summers County K.I.D.S. since 2005, acting and helping with stage crew. Her last role was Mama Ogre in Shrek. Past Credits: Resting Place - Kayla

Andrew Weiss - (Vulture) Andrew is a Junior at Concord University. His acting debut was with the Summers County K.I.D.S. in their production of Suessical where he played the role of Horton the Elephant. He has since performed as Shrek in Shrek and the (absolutely hilarious) Snail in Frog and Toad. Past Credits: Catch - Keyboard (Orchestra) ; The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Keyboard (Orchestra) ; Resting Place - Mayor

David Ziegler - (Milton) Ziegler attended Darthmouth College earning an A.B. in Government in 1968. He earned a degree from the University of Virginia in Law in 1974. He has performed in The Birthday of the

Infanata and The Mouse that Roared while attending Palmer High School. He currently works as a lawyer in Summers County. While not working on the stage or behind a desk he enjoys spending time with his granddaughter, farming, traveling, and photography. “Performing with a much younger cast makes me feel young.” Past Credits: Catch - Fred ; The Tragic Account of Joseph Much - Dubois Parmlee ; Resting Place - Thatcher

- Orchestra Bios -

Shey Dillon - (Flute/Piccolo)

Earning her BFA in music from Marshall University in 2013, Shey is currently completing her Master’s in Music Therapy at Radford University. Previously, Shey has served as principal flute of the Marshall University Symphony Orchestra, and played with numerous theatre companies, including 5th Avenue Theatre Company, ARTS Resources for the Tri-State, and First Stage Theatre Company. Recently, Shey has recorded her first album as a singer/songwriter. This is Shey’s fourth time performing in the orchestra for an Ars Creo production, and she is very grateful to be part of such a great and creative community effort.

Lars Swanson - (Alto Saxophone) A Summers County native, Lars began playing music with the SCAMPERS percussion ensemble at the Hinton Amtrack station, and has since traveled the full four blocks to join you today. Currently enrolled in the Jazz Studies program at Marshall University, Lars will be entering his second year of undergraduate study in the fall. He has worked with Ars Creo in the past and is excited to be returning for his third year.

Dustin Moraczewski - (Guitar) As a graduate student at the University of Maryland studying cognitive neuroscience, Dustin is forlorn with how little time he can devote to music these days. He is excited to pick up his guitar for the Ars Creo orchestra a second time and play music with old friends. Dustin received his BFA in classical guitar performance from Marshall University in 2011 and is always open to exploring new musical experiences. Since Marshall, Dustin has pursued a variety of endeavors from working with individuals with autism in South Florida foster care system to using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the development of brain networks that support higher-order cognition.

Lindsay Moraczewski - (Violin) Lindsay received her Bachelor’s degree in music education from Marshall University in 2012. She went on to get her Master’s degree from the University of Miami in Miami, FL and defended a thesis on the social nature of orchestral playing in 2014. Ms. Moraczewski is currently an elementary music teacher with Howard County Public Schools in Howard County, Maryland. She enjoys photography, hiking, and playing with her cats in her spare time.

Dean Pauley - (Cello) Dean Pauley is a cellist from Madison, West Virginia. He began his studies on the cello in high school under the instruction of Kim Graham. Following high school he went to Concord University in Athens, WV to study music for a year before transferring to Marshall University. He received his undergraduate in music performance at Marshall and is currently finishing his masters in performance there as well under the guidance of Dr. Solen Dikener.

We would like to thank: Patty Stacklin Carol Jackson Patty Jeffries Dwight Emrich Robbie and Mary Beth Merritt The Central Baptist Church The Summers County Commission Scott Bennett and Briddy Blankenship Appalachian South Folklife Center Jason Stover The Summers County K.I.D.S. Ziegler & Ziegler Law Offices Wendy Holdren The Register Herald Trey Bennett Family and Friends of the Cast and Crew The Fabulous Orchestra Our Audience and Supporters The Hinton Area Foundation for providing Ars Creo with another grant this year. Without their support we truly would have been unable to produce a show this year.

Who we are: Ars Creo was created in 2009 by Zack Merritt and Ashleigh Gill. The group is composed entirely of volunteers with a simple dedication to the art of theater. These individuals seek to serve as an outlet of creative force for those in the community (and surrounding communities) who have an interest in any of theater’s many facets, while also providing a rare opportunity for those in their communities to experience original, high quality art at no charge.It is an example of the power of a small group of talented individuals to change their society by joining forces in creativity, dedication, and selfless artistic passion.

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