Our last show of the season is upon us in The Rimers of Eldritch. The show follows the decaying town of Eldritch, Missouri as they confront a tragedy that shakes their community. One of the central characters is Eva Jackson, played by Lauren McDowell. Eva is an outsider in Eldritch and a young woman with a leg deformity. Being shown as an odd one out in the town of Eldritch, McDowell expresses how she hopes her character and others will speak to the audience: “I want them to see that people are always more than the labels we attach to them.” Eva helps to illustrate that though people may seem odd or different from the outside, there is always a person behind those differences.
Andrew McGowan plays the role of Peck Johnson who is perceived as a sort of father figure for the town. McGowan describes him as “a farmer, real distant, and masculine.” He shares similar sentiments with McDowell about the importance of knocking down these walls within the town and hopes the audience is able to reflect after seeing this production. He states, “As people, we group ourselves and create outcasts among those not in our ‘group.’ Can we truly progress as humans if outcasting continues? Is it instinctual? If stopped, will society civilize itself and realize the bigger picture? I hope they question this throughout.” Realizing there is always a story behind everyone’s lives, whether their different from us or not, is a central theme to The Rimers of Eldritch and an important lesson to our own society.
While The Rimers of Eldritch itself is timeless, this production primarily focuses on era of the 60’s in Missouri. Costume designer Abbie Jones tried to create pieces that truly reflected life here in Missouri during that time. In her research for the show, she used pictures from her own family to inspire the costumes for each character. She explains: “Since the show takes place in Missouri, I wanted to do as much primary research as possible… It’s all very linked back to real Missouri people in order to make the town of Eldritch both recognizable and realized.” The personal connection to the Missouri heritage makes this play truly feel like it could be a slice out of our own history, making the story feel indeed timeless.
The Rimers of Eldritch runs this weekend through Sunday, May 5th. Tonight and tomorrow’s performances will be at 7:30 PM and Sunday’s will be at 2:30PM in Coger Theatre. Before the show, be sure to check out the Lanford Wilson Collection in the lobby to have a look inside at the Missouri playwright’s life and inspirations.