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Theatre Roanoke College Presents: “The Rimers of Eldritch”


Staff Writer

Roanoke College presents Pulitzer Prize winning “The Rimers of Eldritch”, written by Lanford Wilson, from Nov. 12 through Nov. 20 at 8:00 p.m. and Nov. 14 at 3:00 p.m. in Olin Hall Theatre.

“The Rimers of Eldritch”, written in the mid 1960s, is a murder- mystery drama written in a time of social change and artistic experimentation. The play is set in the fictional small town of Eldritch, where a man was murdered. The plot focuses on the lives of the community members who are slowly disappearing, and the sexual assault of a teenage girl, a shooting, and a murder trial, all revolving around the themes of intolerance, loneliness, fear, and desperation.

Directed by Lisa Warren, “The Rimers of Eldritch” has been prepared by many RC students on and off the stage. The play is for mature audiences only, due to adult content and circumstances, and frightening scenes. 

One of America’s best and prolific playwrights, Wilson wrote “The Rimers of Eldritch” in the mid-1960s, a time of great social change and artistic experimentation. A man has been murdered, and the audience must solve the mystery of why and under what circumstances. The play’s cinematic structure creates a portrait of small town America which is decaying both physically and morally. Only a few of the townspeople are able to escape the harshness of this world through their hopes and dreams. The play is suitable for high school age and up.

The play was staged for the first time by the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in July 1966. On February 20, 1967, a production directed by Michael Kahn opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre, where it ran for 32 performances. The cast included Dena Dietrich, Don Scardino, Helen Stenborg, Susan Tyrrell, and Bette Henritze, who won the Obie Award for Distinguished Performance.

Wilson adapted his play for a television movie broadcast by PBS as part of its “Great Performances” series on March 20, 1974. Directed by Davey Marlin-Jones, it stars Roberts Blossom, Susan Sarandon, Rue McClanahan, K Callan, Will Hare, Kate Harrington, Frances Sternhagen, and Ernest Thompson.

Tickets are free for all students, faculty, and staff of RC.