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Like fights? Like to laugh? "Cry Havoc" is For You
April 14, 2022

Area theatre fans have a chance to see the premiere of an original play when “Cry Havoc” debuts at Walters State Community College April 21-24. 
The play is written by Wes Downing and focuses on some favorite Shakespeare scenes: the fights. Students will use swords, rapiers and fists to recreate 15 scenes from “Macbeth,” “Hamlet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and other works by the Bard.  

“Basically, you’ve got an English professor and a theatre professor at a fictional college,” TJ Kent, director and assistant professor of theatre at Walters State, said. “They play chess every week. Eventually, they make a bet. The theatre professor wants to prove to the English professor that Shakespeare’s fight scenes have made him a better chess player.”

Unlike most of the famed playwright’s work, this play is actually funny. 

“When you usually see these scenes, it’s in a tragedy, a heavy drama. It’s fun doing these scenes in a comedy,” Downing said. 

The young cast members have trained in theatrical fighting skills throughout the semester. 

“The cast was very enthusiastic,” Kent said. They are doing really great even though none of them had done many fight scenes before this play. They have worked really hard during training to pick up those fighting skills.” 
Students also had the opportunity to offer final edits to a script 10 years in the writing.

Downing started work on the play 10 years ago with his friend Mark McGinley. The play was put on hold following McGinley’s untimely death in 2016. McGinley was active in local theatre and was a fan of fight scenes.

“It’s rewarding to see it produced and I am lucky that TJ was interested in the play,” said Downing, who also serves as a technical theatre assistant at Walters State.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. April 21, 22 and 23 with a 2:30 p.m. shows on April 24 in the theatre of the Judge William H. Inman Humanities Complex on the Morristown Campus. Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for senior citizens and $5 for students. Tickets will be available for purchase at the box office an hour before showtime. 

In the photo: Walters State students Rhodes Smith and LeAyn Moyers settle things with the sword in a scene from the spring production and premiere of Wes Downing’s “Cry Havoc.” The play runs April 21-24 at the college’s Morristown Campus.