“See How They Run” opens with new cast, new director

Performs next two weeks in Geary Theatre
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Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 9:22pm

Martin Kelly, guest director for USU Eastern’s production of “See How They Run”, wants the audience to have a wonderful, joyful experience. “I want the audience to enjoy it. One time, I directed the same play and a lady came up to me the next day and told me she hurt from laughter.”

To Kelly, the hardest part about working with a set of unknown actors was that he didn’t know if they would be good with following direction. However, he quickly learned that the cast was very disciplined. “Actors learn team work in ways that others never do. They learn to help each other. It’s a very positive experience.”

“The cast at USU Eastern works very hard to help each other, including myself and the technicians,” Kelly remarked. “I was surprised to meet with the technicians on the first rehearsal. The theatre faculty did a great job in teaching and training the students,” he added. He also mentioned that nobody skips a rehearsal.

“I demand that the actors memorize their script early. It pays off a lot,” Kelly said. He also likes the actors to be faithful and true to their scripts. Playwright is important during a comedy. “If you try to change it, you will mess it up.”

Kelly uses warm up exercises to get muscles stretched out. He says it helps improve their breathing, and vocals as well. “It’s like a ritual to help unite the cast with the director; we look at it as unity.” They also play games. This helps them make sure they are all in the same production.

Kelly was born in California, and grew up in Missouri. “I loved California, especially the San Diego area.” He grew up in the Ozarks and graduated from Pleasant Hope High School, near Springfield, Missouri. He was one of 28 in his graduating class.

After high school, Kelly served three years in the Army. He also served an LDS mission in Salt Lake City. During his mission, he helped build five different chapels in Granger, Kearns and Granite.

After his mission, Kelly attended BYU to get his degree. While attending BYU, Kelly met his wife. Kelly’s oldest son was born a month before he graduated from BYU.

Going to graduate school in New York City was the biggest risk he’s ever taken. “It was scary because it’s an expensive place, and bringing my wife and child to a place I had never gone before was very risky.”

Kelly saw some of the best theatre and cultural events when he moved to New York. “In New York, anything you want to see will be going on somewhere, no matter what night,” he added.

He had the opportunity to work with several theatre professionals. One of his professors started the Delicort Theatre in Central Park. Kelly said he learned the most from Director Joseph Anthony.

Anthony directed many Broadway shows and films as well. He taught at many schools, including graduate work at Brooklyn College, Eastern Wyoming, BYU, Weber State, University of Louisiana, and Ozarks Technical Community College.

Before coming to Carbon County, Kelly lived in North Dakota, where he taught at Valley City State University. Valley City’s theatre department contained a wide variety of people, including athletes. Kelly said he enjoyed working with athletes. “If you cast an athlete, they always do what their coach says. Therefore, they always show up on time, and they know teamwork,” he added.

Once Kelly chose to retire from teaching, he and his wife decided to move to Wellington, Utah.

“I’m happy for the opportunity I received. I also hope they ask for my help again. I enjoy working with the students. Many others also auditioned, but honestly, I think we owe it to the college students to play the role. So we decided to cast only college students,” Kelly said.

The cast of “See How They Run,” a comedy by Philip King, has been announced by the department of theatre at USU Eastern in Price, according to Kelly.

The play, set in the Vicarage of the village of Merton-cum-Middlewick, takes place in 1947 near the onset of the Cold War. It involves characters who are British and American, with one Russian spy.

Ida, a maid, is played by Bethany Woodruff, a sophomore theatre major originally from Scotland. A nosey neighbor, Miss Skillon, is played by sophomore theatre major Lisha Michel of Clearfield, Utah. Miss Skillon is a character who loves gossip, whether passing it on or creating it.

The vicar of the parish, Reverend Lionel Toop, is played by Mitchell Ewan, pursuing a general education major at USU Eastern, who is a native of Price. Reverend Toop’s wife, formerly an American actress, is played by Anne Morey, a sophomore theatre major from Salt Lake City. Mrs. Penelope Toop is the major victim of Miss Skillon’s gossip as she struggles to cope with most of the complications in the play.

Penelope’s old friend, and former-acting partner, Clive Winton, who is now in the American military stationed in England, is played by Wilford Woodruff, a junior actuarial science major of Price. Woodruff, in real life, is married to Bethany Woodruff, who plays Ida.

A minor role, Willie Briggs, is not actually seen on stage, but his voice is heard at the beginning of the second act. Briggs is played by Timothy Swensen, a freshman theatre major from Stansbury Park, Utah. Swensen is also serving as stage manager for the production.

The sinister villain of the play is an intruder who is actually an escaped Russian spy, played by Tyrell Clement, a freshman theatre major of Huntington.

The Bishop of Lax, who in the play is actually the uncle of Penelope Toop, is played by junior theatre major Scott Zaborski of Ivins, Utah. Another clergyman, The Reverend Arthur Humphrey, is played by Jerid Clark of Price, who is pursuing the general studies program at USU Eastern.

The cast is completed with a policeman, Sergeant Towers, played by Seth Burgess, a freshman theatre major of Price.

“As can be seen by the list of characters in the play, since many of the men are also clergymen, there is ample opportunity for mistaken identity, which helps to create a good deal of the laughter in the play,” Kelly said.

“This is a favorite comedy of audiences across the country, and we are certain that audiences here will enjoy it.”

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