Theatre Roanoke College is proud to present its spring production “Liza and the Riddling Cave.”Â A show both children and adults can enjoy, “Liza” will be opening this Friday, April the 6th in Olin Theater.
The play follows a young girl named Liza Tucker, played by Rachel Leach ’14, and her younger brother Jacob, played by Bailey Howard ’15, near the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930’s. Liza, an incredibly smart and imaginative girl, is unable to speak.
“[Liza] communicates with a sign language she has developed [and] her younger brother Jacob is her translator the entire play,” said Rachel Leach ’14. Misunderstood by her family and the townspeople, she lives a lonely life; however, despite being mute, Liza has an extraordinary talent for solving riddles.
The conflict of “Liza” begins when Liza’s father, Adam Tucker, does not return home. Coming back into town, he loses the family’s wagon when he tries to cross an over flooded river.Â Lost and alone, he soon wanders into a mysterious and dangerous cave while traveling back over Ice Mountain.
“Adam is a very warm character who loves his children, but has a special connection to Liza because she is every bit as in love with riddles and adventures as he is,” said Johnny Camacho ’12 who plays the father. “My character provides the inciting incident for the play. Many of the townspeople presume him to be dead, but Jacob and Liza don’t believe it and go on an adventure to find him.”
When they reach the cave, they encounter a set of ghosts whose job it is to ask riddles to anyone who enters the cave.
“You cannot get out of the cave unless you have answered their riddles,” said Darlene Harris ’14 who plays a ghost named Hattie.
In the end, it is Liza’s talent for solving riddles that saves her father while achieving the acceptance she deserves from her mother and the town. Although “Liza” was written for younger audiences in mind, it is a play that people of all ages will enjoy because it deals with timeless issues.
“It teaches and promotes a lot of great life lessons that are applicable to everyone,” Leach said.
“It looks at the strength of a family’s bond and teaches that it is okay- even crucial sometimes- to be different,” Camacho said. “[Although Liza] is bullied for being different, [she] is able to overcome her negative inner voices and do something amazing.”
“[The show also teaches] that no matter who you are, everybody has something they can do that can change lives around them,” Harris said. “No one is insignificant if they put their gift to use to help other people.”
“Liza and the Riddling Cave” will be presented before a children’s audience on Thursday, April 5 and will open to the public on Friday, April 6 at 7:30 pm. The show is free for all Roanoke College students and is approximately 75 minutes long.