Mid-Term Theatre Quiz For Intrepid Souls

By Randall David Cook

At a recent fundraising event for The Furman Advantage, President Elizabeth Davis told donors that It would have been easy to build another building.Theatre people are masters in suspending disbelief, but even we have limits. To quote Lin-Manuel Miranda’s titular protagonist in “Hamilton”: “Hey. What are you waiting for? What do you stall for?”

  1. The Furman Playhouse was constructed as a temporary” structure in:
    1. 1969
    2. 1969
    3. 1969
    4. All of the Above (And yes, it’s been that long. #NotAnAlternativeFact).
  2.  True or False. Fortyseven years seems like an extraordinarily long time to be “temporary.”
    1. True.
    2. Very True.
    3. Jesus weeps.
  3.  What animals can one often find in the Playhouse?
    1. Snakes. *
    2. Opossums.*
    3. Mice.*
    4. Actors.
    5. All of the Above.
  4. True or False. Harold Pinter requested the use of live cockroaches in all his stage directions.
    1. True.
    2. False — one Nobel Prize was enough.
    3. False, but the Furman Playhouse provides them nonetheless.
  5. The Playhouse most resembles:
    1. No other building on campus. *
    2. A refugee camp.
    3. A storage facility. *
    4. A tin can. *
    5. A mobile home*, which would be great if the Playhouse were to produce endless productions of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” Jez Butterworth’s “Jerusalem” or “The Glass Menagerie” sequel,  “Amanda and Lauras Brave New Housing Adventure.”
  6. True or False. Furman’s fancy new Advantage” strategic vision addresses the desperate need for a new theatre building with improved classrooms, safer craft spaces and up-todate equipment.
    1. False. Cement floors* are perfect for rehearsals, especially those that involve dance.
    2. False. It’s better for the public to continue witnessing the Administrations apathy and passive disdain for the Theatre Arts department.
    3. False. It’s easy to recruit new theatre majors by showing them how every other department on campus has far more impressive facilities.
  7. If Shakespeare returned from the dead and visited the Furman Playhouse in 2017, he’d:
    1. Be thrilled that Romeo and Juliet is being performed this season.
    2. Be bitten by an asp.
    3. Puke.
    4. Write another tragedy.
  8. True or False. The Furman Playhouse exists solely to put on shows.
    1. True. All jazz hands, all the time!
    2. False. The Playhouse houses the entire Theatre Arts Department. Classes are taught there. Lots of them. With labs. Now imagine other classes in any other discipline using facilities that were created almost half a century ago. Seriously. Try to imagine it.
  9. In a 2010 external departmental review of the Furman Theatre Department by Matthew Hallock and John Ore, the facilities of the department are described as:
    1. “Not aesthetically pleasing as a campus building.”
    2. “Under-sized and under-resourced for the work being done.”
    3. “A detriment in the recruitment and retention of theatre students.”
    4. “Practically perfect in every way!”
    5. All but D. This ain’t Mary Poppins, fool.
  10. True or False. Furman University can claim to be a first-class liberal arts institution even as it continues to treat its theatre department like a red-headed stepchild.**
    1. False.
    2. Don’t kid yourself.
    3. Blanche DuBois was less delusional.
    4. Still looking for an acceptable response? Join the club.
  11. True or False. True and False is a book about acting by David Mamet.
    1. True. Though it’s false to pretend the state of the Playhouse even approaches a barely acceptable level.
    2. False. You could benefit from more classes in the Furman Theatre Arts department.


ANSWER KEY: 1.D, 2.C, 3.E, 4.C, 5-7.Your Choice, 8.B, 9.E, 10.Ahem, 11. B

*Denotes a sample of responses given in an independent survey about the Playhouse conducted by Allie Hargrove.

**For the record, Gingers are more than welcome at the Furman Playhouse, as are stepchildren. *****


Cook is the Duke Endowment Fine Arts Initiative Playwright-in-Residence for the Spring 2017 semester. He wrote Kappa Kappa Scream and Pomp & Circumstance specifically for the Furman Playhouse. A ’91 graduate and former Editor-in-Chief of The Paladin, he resides in New York City and very much believes in the incredible potential of the Furman Theatre Arts program.


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