MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Middlebury College senior Jeff King's play "How to Lock Up, Talk Down and Get Things Done" will be presented on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Addison Repertory Theatre in the Hannaford Career Center on Charles Avenue off Route 7. The play is open to the public with a suggested donation of $2. "How to Lock Up" is a one-hour production directed by Carli Gaughf who graduated from Flordia State this past May, with a cast composed of Middlebury College junior Elizabeth Somes, senior John Stokvis, Katie Decioccio from Otterbein College, and Jade Rotham from Ithaca College.
While participating in Middlebury College's Study Abroad Program in Nottingham, England, in the fall of 2003, King spent some of his free time writing his first play. He submitted the manuscript to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in Edinburgh, Scotland, which took place from Aug. 8-30 during the 2004 summer. His play was selected for the amateur category. "Edinburgh is amazing because you can have a student-written piece performed by 20-year-olds alongside Shakespeare by the Queen's Men. It is truly the place of opportunity for anyone who cares to take a chance," said King.
While King completed his spring semester abroad in Spain, Middlebury College senior John Stokvis and junior Courtney Matson began looking for a cast to perform the play, and the fledgling production company, Loose Elephant Theatre, was created.
The production company's enthusiasm and dedication for their play followed them to Scotland. In order to promote their shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival-the largest and one of the most prestigious theatre festivals in the world-production companies advertise on the "Royal Mile," a stretch of road closed to traffic throughout the festival to take on a carnival atmosphere. To gain attention, the group wore fluorescent green t-shirts while on the Royal Mile. However, Matson said they were most recognized for their skits and antics. "Sitting outside for two hours in the middle of a crowded street, duct-taped to a chair wearing only my boxers and a show poster, I was able to attract audiences for the play, and had more indescribably cool things happen during the process than I've ever experienced in any other thing I've done," said Stokvis.
The play follows the bizarre lives of four people who somehow end up spending an afternoon together. All avoid the perils of a butcher's cleaver and a mysterious antique trunk as they discover the secrets of cannibalism, abduction, and schizophrenia.
"How to Lock Up, Talk Down and Get Things Done" met with favorable reviews at the Fringe Festival, and King is excited at how well his first attempt at writing was received. According to the national newspaper The Scotsman, "Amusing and blackly surreal, this play and players are best at the start, where it develops cleverly and even unexpectedly. In all, it feels like a précis version of a longer play. Which I think I'd like to see."
"Living in Edinburgh and putting the play on every night was indeed a whirlwind adventure, but one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Hectic, crazy, and always tired, we worked our butts off every day, but in the end, it was so worth it to see the play turn out great, and have a happy audience walk out of the theatre," said Matson.