XU ‘Diviners’ returns to a simpler time

By: Hannah Sgambellone ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of Xavier Theatre | The Diviners stars first-year Aaron Robinson as CC Showers (left), sophomore Micah Price as Buddy Layman (center) and senior Alex Roberts as Jennie Mae (right). It opens Friday, Nov. 11.

Xavier Theatre has a penchant for picking the right production at the right time. The Diviners offers a simple exploration of redemption. Perhaps now more than ever it’s a story that we need to hear.

The Diviners is centered around the relationship between CC Showers (Aaron Robinson), a disenchanted preacher, and Buddy Layman (Micah Price), a young boy with disabilities struggling with the death of his mother during the throes of the Great Depression. Against a backdrop of dynamic supporting characters and a lighting design that rivals any seen on the Xavier stage so far, CC and Buddy explore redemption through hope. As CC’s relationships with the members of the Layman family unfold, conflicts of faith, beauty and destiny carry The Diviners to its inevitably heart-wrenching conclusion.

Performances in The Diviners continue in the high standard set by the season so far. Standouts include senior Katie Mitchell, whose skeptic Luella counteracts Nora Weisz’s zealot Norma to perfection. Senior Michael Thompson and junior Henry Eden offer subtle comedic relief, as well as welcome emotional depth, to the farm hands Melvin and Dewey.

Spearheading the group, however, is sophomore Micah Price as Buddy. His work is unprecedented on the Xavier stage, and his chemistry with Aaron Robinson’s CC Showers carries this beautiful narrative into a transcendent territory.

The Diviners is directed by department head Stephen Skiles who said the production is close to his heart.

“What I love about The Diviners is that every night I wish I could see the world like Buddy, because everything that he comes in contact with is this new wonderful discovery. And except for water, he just really loves. It’s a really beautiful view of the world,” Skiles said.

In discussing what he hopes the audience will gain from the performance, the goals of the production are simple. Though Buddy’s worldview is a difficult one to have, it is one that Skiles has found himself drawn to in the script and one that he has found audiences have gravitated toward in past performances.

“I hope audiences can take a little bit of Buddy with them,” Skiles said. “And that last line of the play, when Basil says ‘We look to each other and call it a blessing’ – even if it’s just for an hour and 15 minutes in the theater, I hope we can recognize how important we are to each other. It really just re-emphasizes the idea of community that’s at the center of the play.”

The Diviners runs Nov. 11-19 in the Gallagher Student Center Theater. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or at http://www.xavier. edu/theatretickets.