KNOXVILLE – What do a large teddy bear, an insane asylum, and $10 million have in common? They’re all a part of the spring play, “The Curious Savage,” directed by senior Jared Randall, junior Nicole Brunsman, and Mrs. Tammie Weatherly.
Last night, Johnson University’s depiction of John Patrick’s “The Curious Savage” debuted.
Randall introduced the show and set the scene at The Cloisters – a high class insane asylum.
He said it shows “how their world and how they live is a lot less crazy than the world outside.” Themes of greed, the power of love, and the frailty of innocence were foreshadowed to be portrayed throughout.
The show begins in The Cloisters with Florence (Elizabeth Anderson), Hannibal (Joshua Bruner), Fairy May (Torie Sayers), Jeffrey (Josiah Caraway), and Mrs. Paddy (Bekah Sidwell), each with their own uniqueness. With this interesting bunch, quick quips begin right away.
“No, Jeffrey, climbing on chairs is women’s work. Men have mountains,” said Fairy May.
New to the stage and to The Cloisters was the Savage family, who were interested in housing their mother Ethel Savage (played by Ashton Hooper) there.
Dr. Emmett (Meghan Nelson) finished checking out Ethel as the Savages met with the woman running The Cloisters, Miss Wilhelmina (Katie Reichart). It appears their mother has made off with $10 million from their deceased father, in addition to other “foolish” behavior.
“There was talent tonight,” said freshman Andrew Lane. “I was genuinely impressed. “A set malfunction and a few flubbed lines were not enough to discourage the actors as they powered through.
Soon in the story, Ethel meets the other individuals in The Cloisters. They quickly take a liking to her.
Ethel’s first night there, Hannibal (Joshua Bruner) warns her not to fall asleep. He says they never fall asleep because today they are safe, but tomorrow they may not be; their thinking is that if they never sleep, today never ends.
Each character’s quirks quickly become evident. Florence has a doll that is her five year old son; Hannibal plays violin – not so well; Fairy May is quite eccentric with a need to feel loved; Jeffrey has a large scar; and Mrs. Paddy will only speak to say what she hates.
“It’s a comedy for everyone,” Brunsman said.
The Savage family eventually returns in an attempt to find where Ethel has hidden the money, each Savage child consumed by greed.
They each have their own problems as well. Lily Belle (Brooke Boling) has had six divorces, Titus (Hunter Long) is an immoral Congressman, and Samuel (Drew Grimm) is a judge whose decisions are mostly reversed.
The show continues, investigating deeper into contentment, what it means to love, and the blurred line of where sanity and insanity meet.
“I always had high hopes for this show,” said Brunsman. “All the hopes we had came to fruition opening night. I’m very proud of them.”
Brunsman also mentioned that it was hard work for the actors to juggle being full-time students with show preparation, but that no end-of-semester exhaustion could be seen on that stage.
To discover the fate of Ethel Savage and the missing $10 million, there are a few more chances to catch the show April 15, 16, and 17 at 7 p.m.