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COLUMBUS, Miss. -- A short story by The W’s Michael Farris Smith will become a staged production during Homecoming activities March 23-26.

 “Chasing Rabbits” has been adapted by Smith from his short fiction and will be directed by Peppy Biddy of the Department of Theatre. The free production is 8 p.m. March 25 in the Black Box Theatre of Cromwell and will last approximately 30-40 minutes, Biddy said.

It will be preceded by a book signing of Smith’s most recent novel, “Desperation Road,” beginning at 7 p.m.

“I’ve enjoyed doing something new,” Farris said of the effort. “It’s fun to see the characters come to life and to see how the actors interpret the characters. This developed from a conversation I had with Peppy, and I thought this would be the best story to adapt.”

Featuring only three characters, the play includes Rachel, who will be played by W theatre alum Tracy Power; Steven, played by theatre alumnus and current staff member Dustin Gibson; and Dale, played by theatre assistant professor Lee Crouse.

The play had an original reading in September and has been fine-tuned since, Biddy said. “It had to be adapted to happen in one location, which is especially important in a shorter play.”

Both Farris and Biddy say that creating a play from a work of fiction is a big leap for a playwright. “Other people are saying the words the playwright imagined,” Biddy said. “A playwright hears what a smart, professional actor does to give voice to the words.”

Smith is the award-winning author of the novella, “Hands of Strangers,” and novels “Rivers” and “Desperation Road.” When it was published in 2008, “Chasing Rabbits” won an award from Brick Street Press.
Biddy, a veteran theatre faculty member at The W, has directed productions on campus, as well as in Jackson, Dallas and Roanake, Va., among others. He is a production manager at the Sundance Institute, Sundance, Utah.

March 14, 2017
Contact: Maridith Geuder
(662) 329-1976
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