Main Stage Theatre Delves Into a Small Town Life, Characters
The cast of characters for the College of Southern Maryland’s fall production of “Greater Tuna,” numbers more than 20 but the cast list includes only two names. Keith Hight, CSM theater technical director and associate professor, and Robert Norman, CSM assistant technical director, make up the two-man show that promises a hilarious wild ride through the fictional town of Tuna, Texas.
CSM’s Main Stage Theatre production of “Greater Tuna,” written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, is a satirical play that comments on small-town, Southern life and follows the morals of residents Arles Struvie, Thurston Wheelis, Aunt Pearl, Petey Fisk, Phineas Blye and Rev. Spikes. Staying true to the play’s original production, Hight of King George, Va., and Norman of Alexandria, Va., transform into multiple characters over the course of the play.
Hight was introduced to theater while tagging along with his father, a music director for several theaters. “I fell in love with doing theater on both the acting and directing side and although there have been some brief pauses in pursuing this field, for the most part I’ve done theater since I was a kid,” he said.
“I have been blessed to work with some of the greatest and most talented people in the world. I grew up learning from Tom Savini, Leonard McLeod, Pat Reese, George Cohen, Bob Luke, to name a few, at Fayetteville Little Theatre [now Cape Fear Regional Theatre] and the Ft. Bragg Playhouse. [Other actors and I] never realized they were famous, we followed them around and studied them always trying to get better,” said Hight.
“Theater is constantly changing, it is never the same each day—but the show still starts on time and ends on time. Getting students to repeat the same thing over and over for every different audience is challenging, still, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great and talented people,” Hight said.
Hight earned a Master of Fine Arts, Theatre Pedagogy, from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Education, Curriculum and the Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. He earned a bachelor’s degree in dramatic literature and performance from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Hight has taught theater courses for more than 20 years and in the past has served as technical director at King’s Dominion and Campbell University. He has served as the technical director at CSM since 2009.
Norman got his start in acting in his high school theater’s production of Agatha Christie’s “Mousetrap.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in theatrical management from University of North Carolina Asheville and has worked as a technical director in several theaters on the East Coast since 2010. He has also worked on four theater remodels including The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theatre on Sanibel Island, Fla. He has served as the assistant technical director at CSM since 2012.
“Greater Tuna” begins at 7:30 p.m., September 17 and September 24; at 8 p.m., September 18, 19 and 25; and at 2 p.m., September 26. All performances will be on the La Plata Campus, Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for military, seniors and youth.
Keith Hight, CSM theater technical director, left, and associate professor, and Robert Norman, CSM assistant technical director, right, are joined by costume designer Barbara Wheeler who pulled together 20 wardrobe changes for the two-man show that promises a hilarious wild ride through the fictional town of Tuna, Texas.