Carthage’s cast and crew of ‘Memento Mori’ invited to KCACTF
The Carthage Theatre Department’s world-premiere production of “Memento Mori: A Meditation” may have ended its opening run, but the work of the cast and crew is hardly over.
The production has been invited to the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), taking place Wednesday, Jan. 11 through Sunday, Jan. 15, in Flint, Michigan.
“Memento Mori” is one of only four productions invited from the region, which includes Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and western Ohio. The play will showcase at KCACTF at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, in Flint’s historic Capitol Theatre.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this play with a larger audience,” says director and co-author Professor Neil Scharnick ’99. “It’s always an honor to be invited to the festival, but this feels especially meaningful for many of us involved. The playwriting process was so personal and collaborative that this is truly a win for everyone on the project.”
All of this precedes yet another planned remount. Later in January, the cast and crew will travel to Ireland, where the play will receive its international premiere at historic Smock Alley Theatre, 1662, in Dublin. They will then travel to Killarney for additional performances at West End House School of Arts.
“Memento Mori” is the 14th installment in Carthage’s New Play Initiative, a program bringing acclaimed playwrights to campus to develop and premiere their work. Past productions have brought truly acclaimed collaborators to Carthage, beginning with Academy Award winner and Tony nominee Eric Simonson in 2009.
This production differs from past projects in ways the cast and crew could not anticipate. It began as a collaboration with the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin; National Theatre School of Ireland; and actor, educator, and playwright Donal Courtney. But when Mr. Courtney was offered his dream job (by actor and friend Michael Fassbender) to return home to Killarney and become founding director of West End House School of Arts, both he and the project headed west.
Shortly thereafter, in a heartbreaking turn of events, he was diagnosed with cancer. Despite optimism and aggressive treatment, Mr. Courtney passed away while work on the play was just beginning. However, the project continued on, drawing inspiration from Mr. Courtney, and the production is dedicated to his memory.
In anticipation of the performances in Michigan and Ireland, the Theatre Department will remount the production for one night only at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, in the Wartburg Theatre. This performance is free and open to the public.