THEATRE WITHOUT COMPROMISE Dedicated to new, exciting, and innovative theatrical works of the highest quality, we provide a space where writers, performers, and an audience can come together in a spirit of community and collaboration to expand our understanding of what is possible in the theatre. We also offer educational programs and support for artist development for Southwestern Virginia. By working in concert with other arts organizations, we will strive to make Roanoke a nationally recognized
home for new play development.
30 Campbell Ave., SW
Roanoke VA 24011
here for the review in The Roanoke Times
Read Dan Smith's review of MAN
Take a look at this
profile of playwright Ben R. Williams
Written by Ben R. Williams
Directed by Kenley Smith
1971, a small-town sheriff bears witness to a tragic and inexplicable
event. Forty years later, a free-lance writer and investigator of
unexplained phenomena arrives at the sheriff’s run-down apartment,
desperate to learn the truth behind the so-called “Thunderbird
Incident.” But the answer the sheriff offers may not be what the writer
hoped for; the truth may be worse by far. Cast
The Sheriff ... Patrick Kennerly
The Writer ... Drew Dowdy Artistic
Director: Melora Kordos
Technical Director / Resident Designer: Jason
“Blue” Herbert Stage Manager: Matthew Cornpropst Technical Intern / Sound Design: Matthew
Cornpropst Box Office: Kim Do
Audiotronics; Playwright's Lab at
Hollins University; Roanoke Times/Roanoke.com; Swift Print; 101.5 The Music
Place, and New City Media
About the Playwright Ben R. Williams, a 2007 graduate of Roanoke
College, is general manager of Studio Roanoke. He has been the Director of
Guerrilla Programming at Studio Roanoke since May, 2010, planning and hosting
both Guerrilla Playhouse and Guerrilla Cinema. His first play, Ant Farm
(directed by Todd Ristau), debuted at Studio Roanoke in May, 2009.
A native of Basset, VA, Williams began attending Roanoke’s No Shame Theater in
2006, where he was a regular writer and performer for more than four years. A
collection of his No Shame pieces, Hard Times for Ugly Men, was
published in 2008, with a revised and expanded edition following in
Williams has also been a regular contestant in The International 3-Day Novel
Contest. His first novel, Big Nasty Heartbreaker, was a short-listed
entry for 2007, putting it in the top 20 out of nearly 500 submitted novels.
3x3, a collection of Williams’ first three 3-Day Novels, was published
Williams has performed live readings of his work at both Studio Roanoke and The
Bazaar, a performance venue/record store/consignment shop in Roanoke.
He is also the front man and lead singer for Death Newman, a hard-rock Randy
Newman tribute band.
About the Director
Kenley Smith is Studio Roanoke's first
playwright-in-residence. He previously served as board president
(2008-2010) and artistic director (2010-2011). Four of his plays have been
produced here, including The New Testament, which he also directed.
His latest work, Monkey Wrench, premieres in April.
A native of Beckley, WV, Smith currently lives
in Bent Mountain, VA.
Cryptozoology is both the study and
the search for animals whose existence has not been proven. Although derided by
many scientists, the study has many prominent adherents, many who risk their
career and reputations to study what they believe.
In Ben R. Williams’s new play Man
With Wings he asks us the question: what do you believe? Do you believe in
the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, The Mongolian Death Worm, Squonk? Man With
Wings isn’t interested in what you believe, but rather why you
believe. Are you like Charles Fort, fed up with the arrogance of scientists,
who claim they know everything? Or is there another, better reason out there?
The New World, and the American South in particular was once shrouded in
mystery. There were entire cities made of gold, and infinite seas of buffalo to
feed your hungry children. Those days are long gone, and the world has been
discovered. The New World has become the Old. Is there nothing left to
discover, nothing new under the sun? Perhaps these creatures, called
cryptids by professionals, are a way of dealing with the loss of a romantic
This is not to say they don’t
In 1938, a cryptid called a
coelacanth was caught off the coast of South Africa, thought to have been
extinct for hundreds of millions of years.
The giant squid was thought to be a
cryptid for years, existing only in bits of tentacle washed up on the beach, and
in the minds of people like Jules Verne, in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
The first photograph of a live adult wasn’t taken until 2002, and wasn’t
observed in its natural habitat until 2006.
The Hoan Kiem turtle, a giant Vietnamese lake turtle, once thought to be a
legend, was documented for the first time in April, 2011.
So maybe the world isn’t as boring
as we think. As you watch Man With Wings tonight, think about the lines
between magic and science, hoax and legend, what you can see, and why you
Construction Photos (click on the image to enlarge)
Studio Roanoke is a federally registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductible within the charitable giving regulations of the Internal Revenue Service. A copy of our IRS approval letter is available upon request.