WMU News

Johnston-Percy play gets reading at Parish Theatre

Nov. 2, 2004

KALAMAZOO--"Small Slam," a full-length play by Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy, is featured in a reader's theatre production in the Suzanne Parish Theatre in Kalamazoo at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9. The performance is free and a reception follows.

Directed by Johnston, the production features four well-known Kalamazoo-area performers, Martie Groat, Richard Philpot, Michael Helms and Glyni Fenn. Nick Gauthier, a master of fine arts candidate in playwriting at WMU, is reading the stage directions for the performance.

"Small Slam" is the second play in a "Detroit Trilogy" that includes the award-winning "The Zamboni Situation" and "Beyond Sex," both of which have had Off-Off Broadway productions. The play focuses on two couples--Karl and Barbara, and Joel and Ellen--who meet regularly to play bridge. Revelation of Barbara's serious illness causes various simmering problems--including career frustrations and suspicions of infidelity--to erupt into open conflict. Contributing to both tension and humor are the play of actual bridge hands, a magazine sex survey, and the thematic counterpoint of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, in which Karl has the title role in a university production.

"Small Slam" received a New York City staging in May by Developing Acts Theatre Company. Says Percy, "The New York production was the first time we'd seen the play onstage, and seeing it helped us to do some cutting, rethinking and rewriting. We're very grateful to Developing Acts...and our Manhattan cast and crew for helping us to bring the script to its current finished form."

Percy is principal of Maple Street Magnet Middle School for the Arts in Kalamazoo, and her husband, Johnston, is chair of the Department of English at Western Michigan University and founder of WMU's playwriting program.

"Small Slam" is presented under the auspices of the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre. The Suzanne Parish Theatre is located at the corner of West Lovell Street and Park Street in Kalamazoo, across Lovell Street from the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. For more information, call the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre box office at (269) 343-1313.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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