By Joe Johnson
Ensemble Stage in Banner Elk, N.C. will be beginning its production schedule of Cybele May’s suspense-drama “The Redeemer” on Friday, August 16th at 7:30 p.m. with a sold out opening night. Performances will be held in the Hahn Auditorium at the Banner Elk Cultural Arts Center, 185 Azalea Circle.
Gary Smith, Artistic Director of Ensemble Stage, is proud to present this rendition of Cybele May’s “The Redeemer” to the local community and emphasized the unique sensibilities that make the production so interesting. However, Smith warned that if you are looking for fluff or something sweet and happy, you should not come to “The Redeemer”. The plot of the production revolves around a detective in a desperate search of a kidnapped boy who finds himself relying on the visions of a psychic who can foresee crimes with terrifying clarity. Knowing time is running out for the boy, the psychic tries to help avert the horrible fate that awaits him. As the identity of the kidnapper comes into grim focus, both the psychic and the detective confront the purpose of fate and the horrors of the past, pulling them both toward a devastating climax. “The Redeemer is a suspense-drama,” said Smith, “The best way I can relate what the story is like is: it’s as if Stephen King wrote an episode of Criminal Minds or Forensic Files. That’s the best way to describe it; it’s certainly not lighthearted, it’s intense at times, suspenseful at others, and it has a supernatural element to it to a degree.”
Smith also explained the uniqueness of the set they built for “The Redeemer” as something the crew of Ensemble Stage has never done before as the play takes place in the mountains of the coal country in Pennsylvania. “We actually have about two cubic yards of dirt on the stage and we’ve got a garden planted with live plants as well,” said Smith, “We also have a working well pump on stage. The actors are doing an absolutely marvelous job with this show. It’s been a lot of fun to direct, put together, and discover things during the rehearsal process!”
Ensemble Stage welcomes two experienced professional actors to the stage for their productions of “The Redeemer”: Scott Douglas Wilson from Columbus, Ohio and Samantha A. Camp from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Smith has been impressed by what these actors are able to bring to the table for “The Redeemer” and has enjoyed working with them throughout the process of rehearsals. “Scott Douglas Wilson has been in a couple of our productions in the past,” said Smith, “He was in Mindgame many years ago and he’s been in Three Americans and The Melville Boys as well. So, he’s been in a few of our productions at Ensemble Stage already and he’s a very talented professional actor. Our other professional actor we have coming in is Samantha A. Camp; this is her first time at Ensemble Stage but she has a lot of credits on her resume from performing in shows in the past. Both actors are doing a tremendous job with the show and finding all the nuances of their characters.”
“The Redeemer” will be the final production of Ensemble Stage’s summer season. However, Ensemble Stage will continue to stay busy with productions into the fall and winter months until the end of the year. In fact, the day of the final production of “The Redeemer” is the first day of rehearsal for the next Ensemble Stage production, “Sleeping Indoors” by Jim Holt, which will be performed during the middle of September. In October, Ensemble Stage will have their radio show, followed by the Ensemble Stage Christmas Show that will be performed two out of three weekends in December.
Gary Smith thanked all of the fans of this season’s productions as well as this season’s sponsors for making this year an immense success for Ensemble Stage. “I’d like to thank all of our season sponsors,” said Smith, “Shane and Monique Chalk, the Thoresen Foundation, and just about every element of Banner Elk; between the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, the Banner Elk Town Council, and the town of Banner Elk itself, it’s been quite a blessing over the last few years and I’m enjoying every bit of it!”
Ensemble Stage’s production of “The Redeemer” has the following performance schedule from August 16 to August 24:
Friday, Aug 16th @ 7:30 (SOLD OUT!)
Saturday, Aug 17th @ 7:30
Sunday, Aug 18th @ 2:00
Tuesday, Aug 20th @ 7:30
Wednesday, Aug 21st @ 2:00
Friday, Aug 23rd @ 7:30
Saturday, Aug 24th @ 7:30
Tickets for Saturday and Sunday nights’ productions of “The Redeemer” are still available along with tickets for next week’s productions at http://ensemblestage.com/box_office_summer.html
Tickets are $24 for adults and $22 for Senior/Military tickets.
For more information call (828) 414-1844.