Wilkes University Theatre Performance of Lord of the Flies is Canceled

by Kelly Clisham
two cast members from lord of the flies having a battle

Wilkes University Theatre season has concluded. A female version of “Lord of the Flies” set for April 20 through 23 has been canceled.

Based on the book by William Golding, “Lord of the Flies” was adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams. It tells the story of a group of students stranded on an island following a plane crash. Though they’re attempting to escape war at home, they have not left the human capacity for violence behind. The stage drama will likely appeal to fans of TV shows like “The Wilds” and “Yellowjackets.”

Though Golding’s story of the isolated civilization devolving into savagery and mob rule has been around for more than 50 years, the Wilkes production, led by director Alison Morooney, flipped the gender of Golding’s male characters, making the crash survivors female.

Part of the casting choice was practical, with a greater availability of female students involved in theatre on campus. Another part was the chance to provide students with a unique challenge after this season’s more traditional fare like “Little Women” and “Sweet Charity.” “We were really searching for something with a bit of an edge to it,” says Morooney. “We wanted to give our students something with a different feel.”

According to Morooney, she and the cast discussed the innovative casting at the first rehearsal, but haven’t brought it up again. Though the character names may have changed, the dynamic among the survivors hasn’t. “The students feel really strongly that gender doesn’t impact the story. We’re all raised in the same Western, competitive, capitalist society. Women are just as capable of good or bad as men,” she says.

Morooney has been pleasantly surprised at how vocal her cast has been. Society often expects young women to be nicer and quieter than young men, and performers are trained to be quiet, take direction and do what they’re told. During rehearals, the student cast members have been embracing their creative independence. “These young people are using the fullness of their breath, voice and body in a way they haven’t been encouraged to do before,” says Morooney. “I hope they can take that feeling of empowerment with them and know that it’s inside them.”

The Wilkes cast included Aari Gould, Sami Uggla, Jay’na Johnson, Rachel Kern, Savannah Evanski, Maddie Rex, Sammie Gashi, Kasey Karoll, Alivia Serkosky, Maddie Meier, Mya Banegas and Olivia Scarborough.

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