Bryan Hilltop Players Perform See Rock City

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Written by Amanda Davis, Family Section Editor

DAYTON, TENN – Bryan College Hilltop Players hosted and produced See Rock City on February 24-5th and March 2-5th from 7:30-9:30 pm and February 26th from 2-4 pm in Brock Hall. See Rock City is a dramatic comedy and the second installment in “The Nibroc Trilogy,” a series of three plays by Arlene Hutton following a couple known as Raleigh and May as they navigate different seasons of their lives. “Last Train to Nibroc” was performed in 2020 by Bryan Hilltop Players. Many of the costumes from Last Train to Nibroc were used again for the same characters in See Rock City, according to Rachel Burdyshaw, stage manager for the play. The entirety of the play takes place on Mrs. Gill’s, May’s mother,  front porch and the four characters are Raleigh, May, Mrs. Gill, and Mrs. Brummett, Raleigh’s mother. 

Dillon Melvin, a senior politics & government major, portrays Raleigh, an ambitious and intelligent man who dreams of a successful writing career. He desires to be a good husband to May but is limited by his epilepsy. “His needs are the things that are pulling him away from his wants,” Melvin said.

Sophia Jaeger, a senior theater major, portrays May, an independent young principal married to Raleigh who struggles when the honeymoon phase of their marriage closes. “Life takes you in different directions than you expect. Maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but how are you going to deal with those changes?” Jaeger said. “The play really has this message of dealing with change and coming out stronger on the other side and realizing how you’ve grown through that.”

Martina Ferguson, a freshman creative writing major, portrays Mrs. Gill, May’s peacemaking mother who always strives to comfort a weary soul. “She is the type of mom who’s so loving and cares so deeply for both May and Raleigh that whenever she sees conflict, she has this internal battle of whether or not to intervene,” Ferguson said.

Alissa Loomis, a sophomore elementary education major, plays the nosy and overbearing Mrs. Brummett, Raleigh’s exasperated mother who is convinced her son is lazy. “Their relationship is so strained and complicated, but you can obviously tell that there’s some kind of love there, it’s just not like a normal mother and son love,” Loomis said.

See Rock City functioned as the Senior Thesis for Abigail Little, Jaeger, and Burdyshaw, three senior theater majors graduating this semester. The seniors planned and executed See Rock City for their senior thesis, with Little, Jaeger, and Burdyshaw leading different aspects of the production. Little directed the play, ran rehearsals, and orchestrated blocking (how the actors move throughout the play). Jaeger portrayed May Gill and was responsible for writing a deep script analysis of May and bringing her to life. Burdyshaw was stage manager and was responsible for calling cues and running backstage smoothly.

Alexis Marsh, Instructor of Performing Arts and Drama, was proud of the senior’s remarkable achievement in orchestrating the play. “I’ve seen them pour their heart and soul into this show. I’m really proud, because I’ve seen them since freshman year grow and develop into the artists that they are today,” Marsh said.

Amanda Davis is a freshman communications major and creative writing minor at Bryan College. She is a Kansas City native and loves reading, writing and photography.