In the LCU spring play “Through My Eyes,” LCU professor Don “Doc” Williams transports the audience to Spur, Texas in the 1950s in an autobiographical recounting of some of his favorite high school memories.
Williams wrote “Through My Eyes” over the course of three years before bringing it to an LCU stage. The play observes Williams as the Narrator and three of his neighbors and classmates – Les, Wanda, and Mary Lena – reminiscing on their high school experiences at a class reunion years later. The show includes a cast and crew of about 20 people and was co-directed by Don Williams and Laurie Doyle.
“This show is about our area's history,” explained junior Brandon Greer, who plays the Narrator of the show. “Sixty years ago, people worked, played, and had fun, just like in our modern time. It is not only important to understand what they went through, but also to understand what the world was like for them.”
“Through My Eyes” was inspired by Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” as a depiction of life over the years. Williams wanted to share stories about the evolution of the radio, the influence of television, the novelty of drive-in movies, and the emphasized distinction of women’s roles in the 1950s.
“It’s a mix of history and the emotions growing up. We’ve all experienced school, and we all have memories about things, events that happened, friendships, and mistakes that we made,” said Williams. “To me, there is a universal reflection about those key things that we remember about time we spent with each other, and the cast has done a good job of picking up on them.”
Williams incorporated items and costumes to help the audience visualize each scene as a moment in history, including authentic poodle skirts. Additionally, each scene was emphasized by photos from Spur annuals projected in the background.
Williams called writing “Through My Eyes” an important journey of reflection. Previously, Williams penned “Pluto’s Ear, which was performed at LCU in fall of 1998, and “The Man in the Cotton Field – An LCU Historical Production,” which premiered at LCU in the fall of 2007 for LCU’s 50th anniversary.
Williams has a long legacy with the university. He graduated from then-LCC in 1962 and began teaching at LCU in 1969. He previously served as Dean of the Hancock College of Liberal Arts and Education. Currently, he teaches theatre and communication and acts as Director of Graduate Admissions. During his tenure at the university, Doc Williams has positively impacted several generations of students.
Kensly Peck (’15), who played Older Wanda, would not have joined theatre if not for Williams. “Doc introduced me to theatre,” she said. “Ever since I was in the musical “Cinderella” in 2011, directed by Doc, I have fallen in love with acting. I continue to do theatre to this day because of his impact.”
The cast performed “Through My Eyes” for the 21st annual Christian University Theatre Festival (CUTF) on Tuesday, March 1. The festival was hosted by Wayland Baptist University and Charlie Hukill, professor of theatre at McMurry University, served as critic. Hukill awarded Outstanding Achievements in Acting to senior Taylor Prather, junior Joshua Dansby, and junior Mercedes Weast, who portrayed Older Les, younger Don, and the younger Wanda respectively. Schuyler "Ler" Liles also received an award for the lighting in the show.
“CUTF is a great environment. It is so much fun to see other shows and meet other actors and actresses at CUTF who love theatre and God. It’s a real bonding experience,” said Prather.
“I’ve been so impressed with the willingness of this cast to take a chance on a new script and to work very hard on that script. I love them for that. I’m grateful to Laurie for encouraging me to finish and taking this chance. I am humbled by the fact that so many believe in me,” said Williams.
“Through My Eyes” will be performed for the community March 3 and 5 at 7 p.m. in the McDonald Moody Auditorium. Tickets will be $15 for adults and $10 for children, students, and seniors.