Morgantown’s Community Theater Goes for the Win

Don’t miss M.T. Pockets’ production of Art before the local company takes its show on the road for the Southeastern Theatre Conference competition.


Photographed by Vickie Trickett

Each year, the winner of the West Virginia Theatre Association’s community theater festival represents the state at the Southeastern Theatre Conference’s (SETC) community theater festival. This year, Morgantown’s M.T. Pockets Theatre Company will represent the Mountain State with its production of Art at the festival in Mobile, Alabama, on March 7, 2014. M.T. Pockets will compete against 10 theater companies from the southeastern region of the United States.

“It’s really great to make it to the festival,” says Director David Beach. “I hit the jackpot with casting. They became a superb ensemble. That’s why we made it this far.” Actor Ben Adducchio says he can hardly believe it. “It feels incredible. We started this process last August, and now we are nearing the end of our journey. I will miss working with all these great people when it’s over,” he says. “I really want to win, and I think we can.”

A French play written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton, Art is about friendship. It’s the story of three men whose relationships  are tested when one man purchases a monochromatic painting for an outrageous price. “It’s a tragic comedy that everyone can relate to,” David says. “It asks the question, ‘Do we define ourselves through our friends or through something else?’”

The show was first performed in Morgantown in September 2013 and will be performed again February 27 and 28, and March 1, 2014, at 8 p.m. at M.T. Pockets Theatre. The upcoming shows serve as fundraisers, helping the group raise the $3,500 they need to travel to Alabama and compete. “People should come to see Art because it’s a great play and they will be supporting us as we represent West Virginia,” David says. The suggested minimum donation is $20, and patrons will receive tax-deduction vouchers.

The performance for the competition is limited to 60 minutes, so David edited the play, which would normally run approximately 95 minutes without intermission. He cut the first five scenes, replacing them with short monologues from the characters. The cast will perform this condensed version of the production for the benefit shows.

Wyoming East High School will also represent West Virginia with its production of Bel Canto in the high school portion of SETC’s competition.
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