Theatre Production Explores Time and Truth
Principia College’s Theatre and Dance Department recently staged Hush: An Interview with America, an exploration of today’s 24/7 media presence offset by the joy of childlike wonder. Written by James Still, Hush received the Outstanding International Plays for Young Audiences Award from the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People.
The play opens in the small town of Hush, Kansas, where young Maggie Parks, portrayed by freshman Daisy Davis, senses an unexplained presence as she plays under the apple tree in her backyard. Blind since birth, the imaginative girl is dearly loved by her father, Frank, played by junior Aean McMullin, who is increasingly concerned for her. As Frank settles into the recliner to watch the evening news, anchorwoman Jana Roberts, portrayed by senior Anneke Reed, bursts through the television screen to inquire about Maggie’s “vision.” Upon learning more, Roberts decides she has found the next big story.
Other characters enter the tale—a lion who has escaped from a zoo and wandered across the country, an FBI agent who appears in the microwave to investigate the scene, a persistent telephone, a lamb whose calm demeanor becomes a source of comfort and rest, and the “angel” presence in the backyard—with Maggie at the center. Soon it seems that all of America has descended upon the small town as the media elevates the young girl to instant celebrity status. Through it all, Maggie discovers her own voice and experiences a precious reconciliation with her father.
“Hush includes a certain sincerity that causes the show to be profoundly inspirational and of timeless significance,” says senior Shamus Jarvis, who played the lion. “I especially appreciate the play’s universality.”
Hush was directed by theatre professor John O’Hagan, new to the department this year, and music professor Jim Hegarty composed the music for Principia’s staging of Hush. “There are so many layers to this play,” O’Hagan comments. “It is deceptively simple on the surface, but as one begins to explore it, the layers just keep revealing themselves. I appreciated how willing the cast was to keep exploring layer after layer, and I was deeply impressed by and grateful for their tremendous hard work and dedication to each other as company members.”