It’s hard to remember a time in recent memory that a play has been done in the Fine Arts Center that hasn’t been directed by one of Castleton University’s already established directors.
While they have done a commendable job, directorial duties always seemed exclusive.
Flo Keyes, a long-time English professor, decided to challenge that notion.
“It’s overwhelming but fun,” said the first-time director when asked if she enjoyed her first directing experience. “I wish I had done my first one when I was younger, it's exhausting!”
The show itself, “Dinner,” is a contemporary murder mystery that takes place in an isolated mansion under a thick coat of fog.
It’s an award winning play and very much in line with Keyes’ particular sarcastic tastes, as anyone who has taken a class with her could tell you.
And the play came together very well, with cast member commenting “I still get chills at the ending!”
However, it has not been without difficulties that would be expected from a first-time directing project.
“The particular pleasure of directing is seeing how the show comes together, how you envision it and how the actors envision it,” Keyes said.
When asked about how helpful the faculty of the theatre department had been, she had only good things to say.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do everything without their help. Especially because many of the things I asked for were last-minute,” she said.
In fact, professor Harry McEnerny checked in on the project on more than one occasion and other faculty in the building have been helpful as well, cast members said.
First-time stage manager Kaetlyn Collins, a sophomore English major, said she has enjoyed the process.
“It’s had its ups and downs, mainly ups though,” she said.
But what was it like working with Keyes?
“It’s interesting to say the least, because you get a different perspective since she’s an English professor,” she said. “It was a learning experience for us both.”
Those involved in all aspects of the play say they have enjoyed the experience with Keyes as director.
So what are the chances this won’t be her last show at Castleton?
“I would like to do it again, but not during the winter due to the weather. It adds a lot of stress!” she said.
And when asked if she was interested in working with the cast again she seemed very open to it.
“Oh yeah, I think everyone did a really good job. And they were fun. In fact, I’d like to see how these actors grow in their time here.”
The cast said they noticed growth in Keyes during the play process and talked about how much smoother things have gotten during rehearsals.