The William Woods University Jesters will open a new Second Season Theatre Sept. 24 with the production of Daniel MacIvor’s “Never Swim Alone.”
“Never Swim Alone” is a swift, funny satire about two Alpha-males and their ruthless competition for the title of Top Dog. The play is structured as a surreal egotistic boxing match: Frank and Bill, two guys in dark suits and bad ties, square off in a 13-round Battle Royale of vicious undermining and one-upmanship.
It is at first unclear why these guys are at odds; they have so much in common that they often trade identical insults in unison. Nor is it immediately clear what is at stake in their showdown; only a reference to being ‘the first man’ is mentioned.
There are other tantalizing mysteries: Their sparring is refereed by a seemingly anonymous woman in a one-piece bathing suit who blows a whistle to announce the rounds and declares a winner at the end of each one.
But as their cage match grows increasingly bitter, a tragic story emerges implicating all three characters. We learn that the woman’s role as referee is the result of a childhood swimming race between her, Frank and Bill. It was a playful competition with tragic consequences that gives the play its raw emotional core.
WWU student performers are Taryn Watts of Nixa, Mo., as Referee; Bryan Schmiderer of Pacific, Mo., as A. Francis DeLorenzo; Cody Olendorff of Pacific, Mo., as William (Bill) Wade.
Stage manager is Michael Dodson of Mexico, Mo. Allison Ward of St. Louis, Mo., Jason M. Cavallone of Chicago, Ill., and Samuel Binkley of Fulton, Mo., will understudy the principal roles.
The play is directed by WWU student Dustin Z. West. Other William Woods students on the production team are Bryn Hudson of Carrolton, Texas, technical director; Kendra Bolan of Lincoln, Neb., costume design; Rachel Petricka of Las Vegas, Nev., sound design; Amanda Almich of Granby, Mo. and Kayla Pulliam of Bloomington, Ill., properties design; Alexis Guth of Sullivan, Mo., house management, and Wendy Polcin of Racine, Wis., box office.