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‘On the Verge’ at McPherson College Tells Tale of Travel Across Space, Time, Mind

A deep plot involving exploring the jungle deeps, time travel initiated by egg beaters, and a script with all male parts played by a single actor just scratches the surface of what makes “On the Verge, or The Geography of Learning” a complex and layered production.

The play is showing at McPherson College at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 27 and 28 as well as March 6 and 7 in Mingenback Theatre.

The show explores three Victorian-era women who move through the unexplored land of “Terra Incognita,” and eventually find they are moving through time, as well as space. The movement through both dimensions becomes a metaphor for personal exploration and change in life.

Laurina Hannan, senior, Wamego, Kan., said much of the language is archaic with metaphors working on multiple levels and frequent, long monologues. It adds up to being a challenging story for both audience and performers.

“The whole concept is unfamiliar to modern audiences,” Hannan said. “We’re moving quickly in time along with physical movement.”

The subject of travel and exploration was particularly personal for Addie Johnson, junior, McPherson, Kan., who recently returned from a choir tour of Europe; as well as Hannan and Crystal Osner, junior, Conway Springs, Kan., who spent January on a college trip in Ecuador.

Logan Schrag, freshman, McPherson, Kan., has the distinction in “On the Verge” of being the only male actor, although not the only male character. Schrag has to portray eight distinct personalities across the course of the play.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s an exciting challenge,” Schrag said.

He’s enjoying the reversal from the ways playwrights often cast men and women.

“Usually it’s the opposite: that men are fully rounded and women are generic characters,” Schrag said.

Jd. Bowman, associate professor of theatre and director of “On the Verge,” said that he sees parallels between the journey in the play and the journey of learning that these students are in the midst of right now.

“They’re the perfect age for this show because they’re in the middle of intellectual travels,” he said.

Tickets to all shows cost $5 for adults and $3.50 for children ages high school and younger as well as seniors. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at Seating is limited, so reservations are encouraged.