February 21-24, 2008 &
February 27-March 2, 2008


The University Theatre presents


by Arthur Kopit

Cindy Gendrich

Scenic & Lighting Designer
Jonathan Christman

Costume Designer
Lisa Weller

Projection Designer
Amber Chapel*
Jonathna Christman

Sound Designers
Stowe Nelson*
Cindy Gendrich

Assistant Director
Sissie Strope*

Stage Manager
Kate Dydak*





Lauren Gaston*

Rebecca Kahane*

Eric Pearce

Danny Mullins

Tiffany Waddell

Luke Kohler

Jenny Malarkey*

Stephany Rayburn*

Lizzy Thomas*

Mary-Hollis Williams*

* member of the Anthony Aston Players


Mrs. Stilson

Mrs. Stilson


Technical Director
Trevor Anderson

Assistant Lighting Designer
J. C. Bobbit*

Assistant Stage Managers
Ashley Beach*, Anna Zuevskaya

Prop Master
Kate Miners*

Master Electrician
J. C. Bobbit*

Nathan Musgrove*

Scenic Artist
Sissie Strope*

Scene Shop Assistants
Wes Calkin*, Amber Chapel*, Allie Gervasio*, Stephanie Glagola*,
Charlie McColough, Stowe Nelson*, Liz Shumate*

Costume Studio Supervisor
Lisa Weller

Costume Assistants
Alyssa Alexander, Caroline Dignes, Lauren Gaston*, Ainsley Johnston, Connie Miller, Stephany Rayburn*, Elizabeth Skinner

Gaby Ortiz*

Alyssa Alexander

Light Board Operator
Jessica Graham

Sound Board Operator
Aleshia Price

Poster Design
Creative Communications, WFU School of Medicine

Bill Ray III, Jonathan Christman, Leslie Spencer

Box Office Staff
Sara Elaine Armstrong, Rebecca Cannon*, Stephanie Glagola*, Elizabeth Hartley, Mary Kate Lyons, Daniel Mullins, Sarah Jean Sparks*, Susan Walters, Michael Whatley

House Manager
Bethany Novak


Dean Debbie Best and the Archie Grant Committee
Fales Library Kopit archivists, NYU
Coliseum Eye Associates, Ron Tuttle
WFU Music Department
Margaret Bender
Jeffrey Craig
Brook Davis
Karen Downs
Susan Fahrbach
Dwayne Godwin
Mr. & Mrs. Holly
Woody Hood
Janine Jennings
Jay Lawson
Deborah Perret
Jolie Tingen
Jim & Patricia Toole Christina Tsoules-Soriano


Wings was first a radio-play, written by Arthur Kopit in an attempt to understand his father’s experience of a debilitating stroke. Kopit had observed the terror and intense isolation his
father felt, and when he was approached to write something for NPR’s Earplay project, he knew what his subject would be. He also recognized that he could not write directly about his father,
whose case was too severe, and to whom he felt too close to retain objectivity. Kopit’s models for Mrs. Stilson, the central character of Wings, were instead found at the rehabilitation center where his father had been. One inspiration was a
younger woman with the kind of speech patterns our Wings protagonist possesses. The other was an older woman - a former wing-walker with an undeniable spirit of adventure.

Throughout the process of writing first a radio drama, then a stage play, and finally a teleplay for Wings, Kopit wanted to understand what it might be like “inside” a stroke. Unlike many
plays and films about hospitals and patients, Wings is not about how others see the patient, but an informed speculation on what it might feel like to be that patient.

As we’ve made this production we’ve gone through a process of discovery that has in many ways had to mirror Kopit’s. We’ve read copiously, looked at videos and photographs, and had wonderful guides helping us along the way. Not the least
of these guides was Arthur Kopit, who, through his notes and drafts at the Fales Library, helped reassure me about our production concept. But we’ve also had wonderful colleagues and friends helping us here at Wake Forest. Dwayne Godwin, a neuroscientist at WFUBMC (and a visual artist himself), has been especially invaluable, providing advice, links to visual and written materials, and speaking with us about the ways the human brain works and heals. And we were honored to speak
with Mr. Holly, a brave and optimistic stroke survivor who, along with his resilient wife, Gwen, shared their experiences. Psychology professor Janine Jennings gave of her valuable
time to help us understand the cognitive aspects of the play. Colleagues Susan Fahrbach (Biology) and Margaret Bender (Anthropology) recommended terrific articles; Christina Tsoules-Soriano advised me on movement; Patricia and Dr. James Toole ate lunch with me and offered advice; and friends
and relatives gave us books and internet links. Most importantly, my theatrical collaborators - from the set, sound, costume, light, and image designers to the actors, stage management and technical staff, and my assistant director -
threw themselves with gusto into this challenging project.

The abundant intellectual energy and rich connectedness of our community has been especially important in working through a
play that is so much about loneliness, isolation, and the frustrations of lost language and impaired thinking. I have felt grateful every day to work with such beautiful material and to
share it with such a generous group of collaborators. I hope you’ll agree that Wings has given us a journey worth the taking.

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