‘The White Snake’ featured at Schuster


staff writer

In every culture there is an epic tale that is told and re-told for generations.
In England, the legend of Robin Hood has been recreated into movies.
In Spain, there was believed to be a fountain of youth.
Greeks tell their story of the sunken city of Atlantis.
Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre has chosen a different legend to tell. “The White Snake,” written by Mary Zimmerman, is inspired by an ancient Chinese myth of magic and love.
Before there was written word, stories were told through oral tradition.
This transmission of story through speech often created different paths for a story to take.
Depending on the culture and region a tale is told from, the story can have different information. In terms of “The White Snake,” author Zimmerman has combined all the versions into a single story, being told through Gannon students.
“The White Snake” follows the life of a white snake, played by freshman physical therapy major Natalee Junker. After having spent years studying, she has found enlightenment. However, she is restless. With the help of her friend Greenie, played by sophomore accounting major Kendra Walker, the two decide to disguise themselves as young maidens for a night on the town, but a run-in with Xu Xian, played by freshman computer science major Seamus Clerkin, turns into love at first sight. From there comes an adventure to discover whether their love can endure despite many obstacles, and her secret snake identity.
“There is more storytelling than anything,” Isabel Foltz, the show’s stage manager and a freshman English major, said. “It’s been really fun to see these actors grow and come out of their shell.”
Aside from the three main characters, the rest of the show is composed of narrations from the actors to help move the elaborate story along.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve done before,” Clerkin said. “It’s a more modern style of the traditional Chinese folk tale.”
In addition to the student actors, there will be puppets.
“Our director has worked hard with us so we can try and maneuver these snake puppets,” Junker said. “It’s a challenge, but I’m kind of excited.”
“The White Snake” opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, with a special reception to meet the cast and try some snacks before the show at 6:30 p.m. Shows will continue through Sunday. Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults.

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