| the history of wake forest
Growing up on Faculty Drive across from Wake Forest in
the 1960s, I was captivated by the theatre program, which was ig-
nominiously crammed into the seventh floor above the stacks of
the library. But its attic stage made magic. Just as I have precious
memories of attending football games with my father at Bowman
Gray Stadium and visiting the site of Groves Stadium when under
construction, so I cherish having attended opening nights, mati-
nees, and afternoon one-acts in Z. Smith Reynolds.
I first developed a yearning to participate in the tradition estab-
lished by Harold Tedford, Don Wolfe, David Welker, and Sandy
Fullerton when I saw several of my friends—faculty children
playing roles in productions such as Macbeth and Under Milk
Wood. (Notably, one of those child actors, Ben Brantley, is now the
theatre critic for The New York Times; his father, Russell, wrote the
classic novel about Wake Forest students in rebellion against the
Baptists, The Education of Jonathan Beam.)
In 1976, I was lucky to enroll at Wake just as the James Ralph
Scales Center was opening a beautiful new theatre designed by Jo
Mielziner. The first mainstage production was Look Homeward,
Angel, and I will never forget the moment when, sitting in an in-
troductory course in British Literature, two women who had al-
ready seen the cast list burst into the classroom in Tribble Hall and
whispered, “You’re Laura James?”—the character who, as an “older
woman,” has a brief affair with Eugene Gant (the fictionalized
North Carolina author, Thomas Wolfe) before he leaves Asheville
for Harvard.
in retrospect
“I Was Captivated by the Theatre”
By Catherine Burroughs (B.A., 1980)
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