The Tower to provide family fun

By Tammy Keith Originally Published July 14, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 12, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.
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Eilish Palmer

Ashley Murie, left, of Greenbrier leans back while in a sword fight with Erica Summers of Conway during a rehearsal for The Tower, a family-friendly play that will open Thursday at The Lantern Theatre in downtown Conway.

An upcoming Conway Community Arts Association production asks the audience — kids and adults — to join in the fun.

Director Shua (short for Joshua) Miller of Conway said The Tower is a family-friendly show that has sword fighting (don’t worry — they’re foam) by two women (they’re tomboys) who tell the story.

“There’s a lot of neat humor that’s derived from like Bugs Bunny cartoons,” Miller said.

The show will open at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Lantern Theatre, 1021 Van Ronkle St., in downtown Conway.

A prince and princess are pulled from the audience to help illustrate the adventure. The audience is asked to make owl, dragon, horse and woodland noises.

“Then the prince and the princess don’t do a whole lot, really, but we kind of move them around,” Miller said.

“It’s basically two characters telling a story,” he said.

The two are Ashley Murie of Greenbrier and Erica Summers of Conway.

“The two girls stood out — they had chemistry,” he said.

Summers, 25, is a University of Central Arkansas theater graduate.

Murie, 20, is majoring in theater at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton. She said this is her first Community Arts Association play.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said. “What you want from the audience is a willing suspension of disbelief, and kids do that anyway.

“They’re going to be the best audience.”

Murie said her and Summers’ characters argue as they tell the story.

“We talk about the prince rescuing the princess from the tower, … so Erica will tell the story and say, ‘Oh, well, she was locked in the tower by the evil stepmother.’

“I say, ‘I heard it was the stepsister.’ So we argue and we sword fight.

“It’s silly and goofy,” Murie said. “We’re fighting with these tiny foam swords that bend. I’m surprisingly sore.”

Miller, 39, of Conway has a theater degree from the University of Central Arkansas. He has appeared in several Conway Community Arts Association productions, including The Laramie Project.

“It’s been very different directing it,

because it’s not a straight-up play,” he said.

“It’s organic, … very improvisational.”

He compared the play to the television comedy Who’s Line Is It Anyway?

Miller said Murie and Summers have good chemistry and “are both very quick-witted and clever.”

The play lasts about 30 to 45 minutes, Miller said.

“What we want to do is get everybody in and play a theater game or two,” he said. “We’re trying to sneak in theater appreciation.”

In addition to Thursday’s production, the play, written by Gayann Truelove, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at 10 a.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. July 21.

Seating is limited. Tickets are $6 each and may be reserved by emailing

ConwayLanternTheatre@gmail.com.

Miller said the show is fun for all ages, but especially ages 3 to 10.

“We’re trying to do some things that little kids will laugh at and, hopefully, some stuff that adults will laugh at,” Miller said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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