by Mary Morrison
On November 21, The Sewanee Children’s Center hosted a benefit reading of The Bone Orchard, an original screenplay by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, the Tenessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence. The screenplay is affectionately called “a sweet little love story about death” by Wilder. She also describes the play as “sort of Juno meets Harold and Maude.”
Set in Minnesota, The Bone Orchard tells the story of the local cemetery, which must predict who will die over the winter and dig their graves before the permafrost freezes. The cemetery owner’s son, played by Huntre Woolwine (C’16), falls in love with one of the girls on the list. In the past, actresses including Leighton Meester and Amanda Seyfried were interested in playing Lucy, the female lead.
In this reading, Lucy was read by Charlotte La Nasa (C’16), joined in the large cast by a sizable contingent from the Theatre Department. Besides La Nasa and Woolwine, Oliver Crawford (C’14) and Elise Anderson (C’16), and professors David Landon and Peter Smith contributed their skills. Community members also helped, including School of Theology professors and Sewanee Children Center teachers.
Woolwine remarked, “I was happy to see so much hidden talent within the other non-theatre professors and members from the town. The school of theology professors have amazingly clear voices and great diction. It comes with the territory I suppose. They have to project across large congregations.” The reading was accompanied by a silent auction and a reception to raise money for the Sewanee Children’s center. Delicious treats and donated wine was served. “Working with Wilder was a very productive, non-stressful experience,” said Woolwine, “The past readings I’ve done with her have followed suit.”