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Meet ‘ORBS!’ playwright Barry Cavin


Ghostbird Theatre Company’s next production is ORBS!, a site-specific play written by FGCU Theatre Professor and Ghostbird Artistic Director Barry Cavin. Conceived as a music-filled procession that takes place on the groomed paths of the historic grounds of the Koreshan Unity Community, ORBS! Revolves around Dr. Cyrus Teed’s a modern vision of a clean, electric utopia for a new Adam and Eve.

Cavin is an accomplished playwright. His last play for Ghostbird was Writing Shadows, a heady, complex, multi-tiered offering that centered around a St. Louis housewife by the name of Pearl Curran who began channeling a woman who lived in the 1600s after dabbling with a Ouija board one afternoon in 1913. Cavin developed the play specifically for the Langford-Kingston Home, where is was performed this past November.

Prior to Writing Shadows, Cavin partnered with Ghostbird co-founder and actor Katelyn Gravel to write No. 27, a story that followed a character named Creature, who is an engineer – for a miniature railway. Five days a week, Creature toots and whistles around the wooded landscape of a private park down by The Lake of Lost Thoughts. Creature finds a modicum of comfort traveling in a loop. No matter the time traveled, the track always brings you back to the same spot.

In addition to No. 27, Ghostbird audiences will recall Cavin’s The Perfect Island of Dr. Teed, a trope about self-proclaimed Messiah Cyrus Teed and his followers, the Koreshans, that examined the convergence of religion, pseudo-science and utopian society.

Over the course of his career, Barry has designed and directed more than 40 fully-produced plays. More than a dozen of these have been staged at FGCU, where he serves as a Professor of Theatre. FGCU TheatreLab audiences will recall The Mansion at Hangman’s Bog, a wild and hilarious comedy that opened on February 19, 2016. Wooden Mouth and The Living Blog: Apocalypse are among the other plays he has written and directed at FGCU.

From the chair, Barry’s directing credits extend to a full spectrum of classic and contemporary plays, including The Tempest, Agamemnon, Beyond Therapy, Exit the King, No Exit, Psychosis 4.48, Three Sisters and Woyzeck. He also directs student work. Paler Than Grass and Orphan Bunko are two of these.

In both his capacity as a theatre professor and as a playwright, Cavin seeks to build an interest in the lively art of theatre.

“I like to think of myself as an artist who uses theatre as a medium,” says Cavin. “I draw upon my training as a director, my experience as a designer, and my passion as an actor to render works for the stage that are unique in vision but effectively serve the story passed on by the playwright. Most importantly, I appreciate the role of the audience as co-creators in our temporal magic. Without the audience, my work in the theatre is pointless. I embrace Artaud’s challenge: ‘We are not free. And the sky can still fall on our heads. And the theater has been created to teach us that first of all.’ Horace too guides my understanding of the purpose of theatre. He believed that the audience should be treated to profit and to delight. That is the simple aim of every theatre work I create.”

January 25, 2018.



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