Students Take On Ambitious Project With ‘Songs for a New World’
Posted on: March 15, 2021
Tigerville, SC – (January 31, 2019) “Come expecting to see things that you have never seen before,” on stage at North Greenville University’s Billingsley Theatre said Monica Hawkins, light board operator for the theatre department’s upcoming show, “Songs for a New World.” Hawkins, a junior theater major from Campobello, has been prepping the stage before opening night on Thursday, Feb. 14.
When asked how this particular set design stands out from previous designs created by students from the theater department, Wyatt Duncan, cast member and sophomore musical theater major from Glasgow, KY, said, “Entertaining beautiful risks is what theater is all about, and that is what we are doing this year with the set design. We have created a very playful set, it feels very much like a McDonald’s playground with different levels and surfaces.”
Not only is the set design for this upcoming production impressive, but so is the music.
“This is one of the hardest vocal scores I have ever done. The composition is organic, which is great, and that allows for complex theory and technique with note progressions that are difficult to perform,” said Duncan.
“The music and the melodies are so complex. I’m really impressed with the amount of work that these students have put into this production,” said Amy Dunlap, director and chair of NGU’s Theatre Department.
Practicing for her role since September, Abigail Gilbert, cast member and sophomore musical theatre major from Travelers Rest said, “I love how relatable the material is since this is an abstract musical, all kinds of people can identify and relate to the songs that will be sung.”
“Songs of a New World” does not follow a linear storyline instead, it takes the form of a song cycle. The show contains one overarching theme throughout each of the individual songs.
“Moments of decisions,” said Dunlap, is what connects all the songs. This musical highlights moments before a substantial change in an individual’s life and examines “Relationships with other people, with family, with loved ones, and with God,” said Dunlap.
The set shifts between an old ship sailing into the new world and a crowded city landscape, outlining stories mixed with emotions ranging from seeking adventure to finding safety.
Alongside an engaging set and ambitious musical score, the costume design further directs the audience’s attention toward the central theme of moments and decisions that deeply impact an individual’s life. “Songs for a New World” exhibits the collision of art and humanity.
“Amy mentioned the colors black, red, and white. From there, I started thinking about what these colors represent,” said Marlee Daniel, costume designer, cast member, and sophomore musical theater major from Travelers Rest.
“Each song is like a different story. At the start of this story, all of the characters wear black, then they gradually add hints of red to their costume, when it comes time for them to make a decision. At the end of the play, everyone transitions to wearing white, symbolizing their characters transformations,” said Daniel.
Tickets for “Songs for a New World” are available online or at the School of Theatre Box Office. NGU students can claim one free ticket starting Monday, Feb. 11, with their NGU student ID. Show times are Feb. 14-16 and Feb. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m.
Article written by NGU Communications Intern Hannah Hurst.