Bethany College Theatre opens its 2010-2011 season with three performances October 28-30 featuring the comedy, “On the Verge, or the Geography of Yearning” by Eric Overmeyer. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. in Burnett Center.

This story follows the exploits of Mary, Fanny and Alexandra, three intrepid 19th century American women explorers who leave both the comforts of home and the conformity of Victorian-era society to embark on a journey to Terra Incognita. This trek takes them from wind-swept ice fields to precarious precipices as well as to jungles of both the steamy and neon variety. Along the way, they encounter a fascinating gallery of characters: a famous inhabitant of the Himalayas, a German dirigible pilot named Alphonse, and the mysterious Madame Nhu, a modern-day soothsayer who dispenses her prognostications from a decidedly ancient vehicle. It is, in short, a journey that is anything but conventional.

On the Verge

Taking on the roles of the three explorers are freshman Elizabeth Ford, Effingham, Kan., as Mary, and seniors Chelsea Kenyon, Iola, Kan., and Katie Mannebach, Oakley, Kan., as Fanny and Alexandra respectively. The eight characters they encounter along the way are divided between freshman Jedidiah Duarte, Pueblo, Colo., and junior Scott James, Burleson, Texas.

Greg LeGault, assistant professor of theatre, will direct this production.

Describing the play as, among other things, “joyfully profeminist,” New York Times theatre critic Mel Gussow wrote that its trio of “‘sister sojourners’, each a prototypical Victorian lady explorer, equipped with dialog as pithy as their helmets, thwack their machetes through the wilderness while telling tales of past jaunts among the natives. As intrepid trekkers, they put the lie to any charge that they are representatives of a weaker sex.”  On the Verge is, he adds, “

[a] frolicsome jaunt through a continuum of space, time, history, geography, feminism and fashion … a thoroughly serendipitous journey.”

Tickets are $7 at the door for general admission and free for Bethany College faculty, staff and students.