Chattanooga Now Covenant College opens 'Consumption'

Chattanooga Now Covenant College opens 'Consumption'

Four strangers, hundreds of miles apart — sharing the same dreams

September 28th, 2017 by Staff Report in Chattanooga Now - Art

Covenant College Theatre presents "Consumption," a poetic drama of four, young, 19th-century lives cut short by tuberculosis. Though living hundreds of miles apart, their lives become more entangled than they could ever have imagined. The actors, from left, are Bethany Hicks, Noah Lloyd, Abigail DeGraaf and Matthew Mindeman.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: ‘Consumption’

› Where: Covenant College, Sanderson Auditorium, 14049 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain, Ga.

› When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29; 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 6; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 7

› Admission: $7 adults, $5 senior adults, students and staff

› For more information: 706-419-1051

Covenant College Theatre Department will open its 2017-2018 season this weekend with Courtney Baron's "Consumption," a fever dream meditation on 19th-century youth and tuberculosis. Four performances will be given on Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 6-7 at the Lookout Mountain college.

An ambitious nurse, a young man of privilege, a wandering preacher and an Appalachian farm girl living states away from each other seem to have nothing in common but their youth and a bone-rattling cough. Yet, miraculously, they share the same fever dreams. As these strangers' malady intensifies throughout the 50-minute vignette, they realize they might be each other's last confidants.

"The four are dying of tuberculosis, whether they accept the fact or not, and find themselves together in the same mental space even though they are miles apart," says Abigail DeGraaf, who portrays nurse Hannah O'Flannery for her senior thesis.

"However, the story isn't about their deaths, but the lives they are leaving behind and could have lived."

The historical drama re-creates a handful of stories from the thousands who died in the United States from tuberculosis during the late 1800s — just a few decades before the development of a cure that rendered the disease an afterthought in the U.S. during the years to come.

"It's a remarkable study of loss," says Camille Hallstrom. "'Consumption' speaks to what loss means for individual families, for me and for all these young people."

"I've never seen a play told this way before," says Bethany Hicks of the play's nonlinear approach. Hicks plays North Carolina mother Pearl Jacobs, also for her senior thesis.

Covenant senior Noah Lloyd is cast as New England clergyman Gideon Warren and alumnus Matthew Mindeman returns as the insensitive, immature golden-child Nathaniel Moore.

In addition to four performances, visitors are welcome to attend the final dress rehearsal tonight, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets at the door are $5 adults, $3 senior adults, students and staff.

Following the performance on Saturday, Sept. 30, there will be an after-show discussion led by Covenant history professor Dr. Jay Green, theology professor Dr. Hans Madueme and counselor Shan Alexander.

For more information: 706-419-1051.