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Mosquitoes

"Mosquitoes," by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Octavia Biggs
Nov. 11-14 and 18-21, Lucille Caudill Little Theatre
A story of sibling love that explores subjects closely linked to science: faith and reason, certainty and uncertainty, the pursuit of excellence, and scientists’ constant struggle to balance their research ambitions with family life.
 

Cast

  • The Boson – Magnus Kearney
  • Alice – Izzy Gilvin
  • Jenny – Hannah Ousley
  • Luke – Addi Pfefferman
  • Natalie – Erin Hiler
  • Karen – Kenzie Gabbard
  • Henri – Jon Duncan
  • Gavriella Bastianelli / Policewoman – Morgan Caudill
  • Journalist – Nina Mendoza
  • Scientist – Summer Little


Crew

Director – Octavia Biggs
Stage Manager – Christina Swanson
Assistant Stage Managers – Grace Funke, Mahayla Patterson, Hadley Pierce, Hunter Shufflebarger
Dialect Coaches – Dr. Karen Taylor, Dr. Philip Krummrich, Dr. Sylvia Henneberg
Costume Shop Supervisor – Becky Scott
Costume Designers – Octavia Biggs, Christina Swanson
Technical Director – W. Mark Hayes
Scenic/Props Designer – Sara Bowling
Assistant to Scenic Designer – Kaylee Kilgore
Props Artisan – Malaysia Moore
Light Designer – Mirlen Hernandez
Master Electrician – Erin Hiler
Sound Designer – Octavia Biggs
Poster Design – Kelly Tanner
Little Company Manager – Corinne Campagna
Box Office Manager – Carson Underwood


LIGHT BOARD OPERATOR

Logan Wilkerson
Whitney Ramey
 

SOUND BOARD OPERATOR

Isabella Skaggs
Heather Fannin
Teagan Gilliam
 

WARDROBE CREW

Jay Gillum
Paige Davis
Beth Price


Director's Notes

“The general public has long been divided into two parts: Those who think that science can do anything and those who are afraid it will.” -Thomas Pynchon
 
To say that this script was a challenge would be a gross understatement. As with every production I direct I begin the rehearsal process with a week called “table work.” When I begin table work with the actors, I plan activities that help each actor develop their characters. We also analyze the show and search for the treasures the playwright has hidden in the script beneath and within the actual lines. I love the process. Not only does it help me learn each actor and their unique learning and acting styles, but it also gives me a chance to hear their voices and find ways for us to collaboratively produce a piece of art. But for Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood, that task proved to be a huge challenge. Mosquitoes is a play without a center, just like the Large Hadron Collider.
 
Finding the relationship between human emotions in the story and science encouraged me to discover a balance between sentimentality and cynicism, for in that balance is where I found hope for the future, or at least the ability to look towards the future. It reminded me that we live in an informational age and the consequence of that, ironically, is living in the age of anxiety. That dichotomy is the through line that runs as the undercurrent of the show. Kirkwood says of Mosquitoes: “Arts and sciences are two parts of the same world; they must come together and push to the future.” In one moment of the show, you have a woman making Nobel Prize worthy breakthroughs and the next she must be a mother who is worrying about her son. The show is filled with existential questions, sibling rivalry, perils of parenting, women in science, all of which are colliding into each other, and major issues get overlooked while small issues loom large. On the one hand, it is a very funny play and then, suddenly, it is not, and it is very dark, dealing with topics that have become very controversial in our society over the years. Topics such as mental health, social media, superstitions, globalization, and faith, to name a few.
 
When choosing a script for the season, I felt as though Mosquitoes captured the idea of humanistic emotions and connections. Since Covid began almost two years ago, as a society we are undergoing massive changes in how we connect to others. I feel as though many people, myself included, are searching for truth, and for balance. We are navigating our feelings and trying to process information and not giving our brains time to process. I chose to do this play and to do it in the round because there is no place to hide in the round and each of the characters are the heroes of their own stories. The play is filled with revolving concepts between emotions and science. The Nataraja scene is a great example. When I read the play, I had no idea what that was or why it was included in the play. Once I began researching the Nataraja, I realized why she placed it strategically where it happens in the show. First, it was a gift to the CERN from India to celebrate their involvement with CERN. Second, the meaning of the Shiva statue represents “Life Force”. Lastly, the character Jenny, becomes a “life force” in that moment for Luke, and his mom, Alice, she offers a scientific solution: a “collisional quenching” for the humanistic situation.
 
The last thought I want to leave you with, is another example of a hidden treasure placed by Kirkwood in the script. Jenny salutes a Magpie while saying, “Good Morning Mr. Magpie,” and she says this line three times. I had no idea what a magpie was, or what could be the significance to this line, or the impact of saying it at the end of the play. Once I began working on deciphering and uncovering the treasure, here is what I discovered: The magpie is a bird that represents communication and social life. It is known for its idle chatter (which this play is filled with). People salute the magpie to show respect, some also believe that it helps to fend off bad luck. To you my friends, as we journey together through these unchartered waters life has given us, I salute you and say: “Good Morning, Mr. Magpie!”
-Octavia