A public staged reading of SUNDIAL, a new play by MFA alum Jason Half about coal mining and the communities affected by it, will be presented on Friday, June 6, 8:00 p.m and Saturday, June 7 at 8:00 p.m. at Mid-Ohio Valley Players in Marietta, Ohio.
In SUNDIAL, a West Virginia elementary schoolteacher pushes to change the policies of the coal company that are affecting her town. But her position is complicated, as neighbors, friends, and even her family work for – and benefit from – the coal business. Inspired by the events of Marsh Fork Elementary and the mountaintop removal process occurring beside it, the new play explores the relationship and responsibilities between corporation and community.
While an MFA candidate at Ohio University, writer Jason Half received the coveted Trisolini Fellowship to begin research for a play that would explore the subject of coal mining and its effects on Appalachian communities. The MOVP reading will be the play’s first public presentation. “I don’t want this play to take sides,” said Half. “Instead, I hope Sundial makes the audience ask questions about the best way a town can work with a business that has both benefits and risks.” The honesty and quiet passion of the West Virginia characters came alive for Half as they confronted challenges to family, work, and land in the play, he said.
Jason Half is a Marietta-based writer who has taught scriptwriting at Marietta College and through the Colony Theater and the Ohio Arts Council. Recently, his work has received public presentations in Chicago and Pittsburgh. He is the recipient of the 2010 Scott McPherson playwriting award. This is Half’s first full-length script set in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The reading will be performed by veteran actors from the Marietta community. Amanda Anderson, Andy Felt, Mollie Jarrell, Beth Lane, Dyrk Lang, Andrew Pomerleau, and Dawn Weidner perform a variety of roles as parents, miners, teachers, officials, protestors, and supporters in the play.
“I’m excited to bring this story to an audience affected by these issues,” Half said. “It’s a story that will speak to everyone in this area who sees it.”
Public staged reading of SUNDIAL by Jason Hall
Mid-Ohio Valley Players, 229 Putnam St., Marietta, Ohio
8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 6th and 7th