‘Spoon River Anthology’: THS presents spooky small-town play

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

The story of Spoon River comes to life in, of all places, a graveyard.
Tupelo High School presents “Spoon River Anthology,” a play based on poems by Edgar Lee Masters. The entire show is based in the Spoon River cemetery, where the town’s late citizens come to life and tell the stories of their lives, and overall, the story of the Spoon River itself.
“It’s basically the epitaphs of members of the community. It’s like reading an obit column,” said director J.N. West.
Each member of the cast plays several residents, all giving monologues about their lives.
“It’s a little creepy,” West said. “You’ll see how someone died in a fire, and five monologues later, we find out who started that fire.”
For sophomore Katelyn Steig and senior Wesley Burcham, “Spoon River Anthology” is a challenge – but a good one.
“This one’s the most unique play I’ve ever been in,” Burcham said. “The reason it’s so unique is, there’s no one to play off of. You’re just this one character, this one person.”
Both actors play a variety of roles.
Stieg plays several characters including the social climber Ida Frickey; the spurned wife Mrs. Purkapile; and Hannah Armstrong, who knew Abe Lincoln.
“It’s a challenge,” Stieg said, “but I like a challenge.”
Some of her characters are more quiet and reserved. But Purkapile is an angry soul, and Stieg is having fun portraying her.
“I like to give the mannerisms of an enraged lady. I get to get mad, and I love it,” she said.
Burcham plays Enoch Dunlap, a bitter old man; cheating husband Roscoe Purkapile; and criminal Hod Putt, among others.
“It’s plenty of fun to play with these people,” Burcham said.
West said it’s a spooky show full of interesting tales.
“Some characters tell how they lived; some tell how they died,” he said. “It’s like a ghost tour.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Dim the Light
WHAT: Tupelo High School presents “Spoon River Anthology”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

WHERE: THS Fine Arts Auditorium

COST: $5

INFO: (662) 840-1841

CAST: Wesley Burcham, Austyn Davis, Gus Depew, Hamilton Lence, Ray Patrick, Noah Cox, Colm McCool, Shannon Shepherd, Tavian
Montanez, Kirkland Brown, Nathan Parker, Mary Ellen Cobb, Shilah
Montanez, Mary Clair Kelly, Allison Peterson, Kendall Walker, Penelope
Dao, Katelyn Stieg, Alex Presley, Ashley Barron, Megan Davis,
Miranda Jones (student director)