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August 27, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Critically acclaimed play opens Monday

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – “Deepchurch Hollow,” a play by David Skeele, Slippery Rock University theatre professor that earned multi-star reviews when presented this summer in Scotland, comes to campus for 8 p.m. performances Monday and Tuesday in Miller Auditorium.

Laura Smiley, SRU associated professor of theatre, directs the production
The play premiered in August at the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinboro, Scotland. It was the third consecutive year SRU has presented at the festival.

Broadway Baby, a Web site dedicated to live performance, called the play. “Another five-star frightfest from the creators of 'Dark North' and 'The Margins'!,”
 “Like all good horror-plays, Slippery Rock Theatre’s production of ‘Deepchurch Hollow’ relies on odd noises, half-glimpses and the gradual increasing of tension to keep its audience on the edge of their seats,” the review by Louisa-Claire Dunnigan reported.

“David Skeele’s play is perfectly paced, with gradual revelations that suddenly illuminate various characters and their secrets while keeping the audience in a state of suspense. The gruesome and terrifying climax leaves the audience shuddering, and unprepared for the final surprise...  This is a tight and well-performed production that had me covering my ears and closing my eyes, and is well worth watching for a change to the more ‘artsy’ fringe shows. Just make sure you don’t have to walk home alone,” Dunnigan wrote.

 “I’d always through ghost stories were supposed to start slowly and then work up to a terrifying climax, but ‘Deepchurch Hollow’ kicks off with the hysteria dial cranked up to 11 and leaves it there for the best part of an hour,” Roger Cox wrote in his Aug. 10 The Scotsman review. “Jessica Kowach’s twitchy, wide-eyed turn as Alice is genuinely freaky,” he said.

“It was truly an outstanding opportunity for all of the students involved,” Skeele said. “In addition to performing, we all had the chance to see some very high-quality theatre as part of our trip.”

“Deepchurch Hollow,” Skeele’s latest horror story, is a thriller that relates the tale of Alice Deepchurch, who, at age 10, was locked for hours in a hidden room deep inside her home. She has never been the same.

Before heading overseas, Skeele said in writing the play he elected to stay in the same genre this year, in part, because SRU has established a niche with the Edinburgh audience.

He is also the playwright for “Dark North” and “The Margins.” 

The festival, described as the largest art festival in the world, combines such art forms as theatre, comedy, opera, dance and others. The event traditionally attracts more than 400 theatre companies performing throughout the region.

The audience is estimated at more than 1.3 million people. 

The 13-member SRU cast includes theatre majors Daniel Cummins from Pittsburgh, Jackie Freeman from Geneva, Ohio, Adam Harry from Cleveland, Ohio, Ayaka Hikosaka from Tokyo, Japan, Alex Hollock from Butler, Jessica Kowach from Hopewell, Alex McGee from Shaler, Kelly Myers from Natrona Heights, Zach Nading from East Brady, Megan Nye from Utica, Maya Ogasawara from Saitana, Japan, Jennifer Reeher from Volant, and Krista Vogler from Hudson, N.H. 

Tickets, available at the door, are $3 for students, $5 for the general public.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.


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