BISMARCK-There will be an extra chill in the air, Nov. 15-18, as the University of Mary debuts "Grave Lullaby, A Ghost Story," a spine-tingling original play, in Arno Gustin Hall on the Bismarck campus. Written and directed by U-Mary professor Jamieson Ridenhour and brought to the stage by a cast and crew of U-Mary students, alumni and faculty, this year's fall theater production promises a riveting journey into the macabre.
"Lullaby" begins when Mark and Kristen James move into an old house in another town. At first it feels like the perfect opportunity for them to escape a recent tragedy in their lives. But the new neighbors have their own secrets; and the neighborhood may be as haunted as the James' own past.
"My first reaction to the play was pure excitement," says Samantha "Sami" Helland, '16, who plays that female lead, Kristen James. "I have never acted in a play that has a horror theme, and I couldn't wait for this brand new opportunity. I can't wait for performance weekend, it's going to be great!"
"I play a crazy old man who happens to be the previous owner of a haunted house," notes U-Mary social sciences professor Dr. Chad Litton. "I believe people live in the walls of the house ... I also believe Elvis lives behind the dumpster at the local McDonalds. It is a wonderful experience to be working with the author of a play ( a really good play) as an actor. You get a direct chance to see what the intention was for the character. It is exciting to be working with a young group of actors and watching them mature into their roles. People who attend a performance of Grave Lullaby will be really impressed with the strength of the cast from top to bottom and the amazing script which will keep them guessing until the end."
"Grave Lullaby" is Ridenhour's first venture as a playwright. He is the author of the werewolf murder-mystery "Barking Mad" (2011, Typecast Publishing) and the creator (with Ali LaRock) of the short horror films "Cornerboys" and "The House of the Yaga."
"I'm very excited about bringing my first play to the stage at
U-Mary," says Ridenhour. "I love the classic ghost story format, and I couldn't ask for a better or more talented group of people to help realize my vision."
Performances are Thursday, Nov. 15-Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and non-Mary students, free to U-Mary students with Mcard. To reserve, call 355-8262. Due to content, this play is recommended for ages 13 and up.
Media wishing to attend or arrange interviews may contact Tom Ackerman at (701) 355-8002 or email@example.com.
Kristen James: Samantha Helland, '16, Wahpeton, ND
Mark James: Caleb Shaffer, '15, Williston, ND
Michelle Lindquist: Sarah Nelson, '14, Grafton, ND
Lily: Bekah Gross, '16, St. Paul, MN
Oliver: Scott Larkin, '09, Bismarck
Francis: Chad Litton, associate professor, chair Human and Social Sciences
Understudy for the role of Kristen: Clare Stiennon, '16, Madison, WI
Technical Director: Rebekah Vickroy, U-Mary Student Success Center administrative assistant
Stage Manager: Jessica Rily, '15, Bismarck
Assistant Stage Manager: Tara Nagengast, '16, Rogers, MN