The Road to Maryville: MBA Players Prepare Animal Farm for Competition

On October 27th, the Montgomery Bell Academy players will take a trip up to Maryville, Tennessee, to compete in the Tennessee Theater Association One-Act competition. MBA will be performing a 45 minute rendition of George Orwell’s, Animal Farm.

The One Act competition features performances from various schools across Tennessee who must all complete their production under the time cap of 45 minutes. In that span of time they must move their set onto the stage, finish their show, and then clear the stage of any set pieces or props.

MBA’s production of Animal Farm depicts what has become a classic story at a time when George Orwell’s pastoral tale is as pertinent as it has ever been. Dr. Fuller, who is directing the production, said of the show, “I’ve wanted to direct Animal Farm for years, ever since I came to MBA 20 years ago. It was on the original list that I gave Mr. Gioia when I interviewed to teach theater at MBA. I had enjoyed the story when I was a student at Baylor in the 1970s. Currently, George Orwell’s popularity is on the rise. He’s surged to the top on the bestseller list again because in his cautionary fable the animals show us so much about our human desire for equality but also for power and greed. It’s as timely now as when he first wrote it in the 1940s.”

Animal Farm cast is hard at work for showtime.

Animal Farm cast is hard at work for showtime.

In some of their earliest rehearsals, the cast received instruction of the highest caliber from MBA alum, Jeffrey Frace. Mr. Frace currently teaches theater at the University of Washington and has previously acted for a number of years with Anne Bogart’s prestigious Saratoga International Theater Institute in New York. This years artist-in-residence taught the players about various ways of approaching “the method,” particularly through the use of advanced technique of viewpoints.

On October 27, the players will make the three our journey to Maryville to compete. There will be a performance at MBA prior to their departure on Wednesday, October 25, for anyone interested. There will also be a series of performances of an extended version of the show the following week.