Radford senior caps collegiate career by sharing his love of theatre
As Stuart Little completed a 12-show run in Porterfield Theatre, Director Chris Phillips was proud to see the classic story come to life again.
For Phillips, a senior theatre major from Radford, the show was his most recent and biggest opportunity to explore his craft and his passion.
“I think we took a classic story of self-worth, stature and friendship to a new height and new place,” Phillips said. “We wanted to deliver every person at least one good laugh and a story they could relate to.”
Stuart Little is a 1945 American children's novel by E. B. White about a boy who looks like a mouse in New York City. The story is widely recognized as classic in children's literature and was dramatized by Joseph Robinette. Phillips credits the show’s cast and production team with giving the story the feel of a child’s fantasy.
“The cast and crew were amazing. . . . full of useful ideas and they brought energy and enthusiasm to the work. We really developed an ensemble feeling,” Phillips said.
Ten of the 12 performances were reserved performances for students from regional schools. Phillips’ third experience as a director represented a full turn of the wheel for him.
“There was a personal connection. I came to these shows as a child when I came with my school. As I end my college career, I liked the idea of sharing my love of theater now with a young person sitting in the same seats I sat in when I was their age,” Phillips said.
More than 4,000 children and adults saw the product of the work by Phillips and the show’s 11-person cast and seven-person production team in its five-day run. Stuart Little opened in Porterfield Theatre on Nov. 29 and on Dec. 1, there were two performances for the Radford University campus and the Radford community.
As a performer or director, Phillips has taken full advantage of his chances to build a resume that he hopes will prepare him for graduate school and a career in the theatre.
“I am a college student in 2018, but I have had the chance to experience and feel the emotions of being a sea captain, a mouse in New York City, a wealthy English landowner in the 1400s and William Ingles, the husband of a woman whose story I have heard since I was a kid growing up here,” Phillips said. “There is nothing more gratifying than delivering action or a hard-hitting line that reaches people and gives them food for thought or opens them up to a new experience.”