By Angela Lambinus
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College in April presented “Spoon River Anthologies,” a re-adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’ classic collection of free verse epitaphs.
“Spoon River Anthologies,” directed and adapted by Curt Whipple, was presented at the Dennis Flyer Memorial Theater at Camden County College’s Blackwood campus the second and third weekends of April.
“Spoon River Anthologies” was a world premiere full length re-adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’ classic collection of free verse epitaphs that collectively illuminate the lives and losses of the residents of the mythical small American town of Spoon River. The re-interpretation celebrated Americana in multimedia photos and film and was accompanied by classic music from America’s heartland.
The performance that lasted a little over an hour with no intermission started with a group song from the actors in dimmed lighting to go along with the mood of the epitaphs that followed. Occasionally, clouds of smoke would shoot out to give the feeling of being in a graveyard to make audience members feel more attached to the words being spoken and the emotions behind them.
Between the clothing changes in black, white and red, a large screen projected the words “Blessed are those” followed by different endings to go along with the epitaphs. During the performance, the screen matched the emotions of the words being told with pictures of woods, rain, water, people, babies and other items. The performance included a variety of languages, including a woman speaking her story in Spanish as well as another woman who spoke hers through sign language, both followed by a translator to speak them in English.
The performance ended in a solo that transformed into a final group song.
“I thought it was a great performance,” states Camden County College alumnus Brett Walton. “I have heard of Edgar Lee Masters ‘Spoon River Anthology’ before, but this was the first time I had seen it put into a performance. The actors, setup and performance was overall really enjoyable.”
An actor from the performance as well as a first-year student at Camden County College, Julian Class, says he always knew acting was what he wanted to do. “Going through this took me and made me better in developing character development and listening on stage.”