September 12, 2013

Lord of the Flies: Interview with Ellen MacKay

Ellen MacKay, an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department , discusses Cardinal Stage Company's upcoming production of Lord of the Flies. MacKay served as the production's dramaturg.

Nathan Robbins (Jack) and Nat Zegree (Ralph).
Provided by Cardinal Stage Company.

How does this play contribute to Themester's discussion on networks and connection?

Lord of the Flies is about remaking the social fabric from the ground up. I don't think I am giving away anything by saying that it's an experiment that doesn't go well. But in keeping with the grand tradition of utopian and dystopian writing, Lord of the Flies is a meditation on the ties that bind us together, their fragility, and the horrors that result in their absence.

Is there a loss of connection in this play? If so, what sort of connection is lost?

Well, the Island is a unique social environment in that it lacks the diversity of our global, multicultural world. In fact, it lacks every social type aside from school-aged, middle class, British boys. There are no adults. There are no women. There are no girls. There are no families, schools, churches, or social structures. So many of the connections that would suture the social fabric together are cut. Yet the boys find a way of organizing themselves, and they police that system ferociously. The chaos that results is not just the effect of cut connections, but also the effect of this strangely homogenous and too-tightly bound society.
Provided by Cardinal Stage Company.

Does the network developed between the boys in this play fail completely or run a natural course?

Any answer would depend on what you take to be humankind's natural condition. If the play follows the course of nature, then it's the nature that Thomas Hobbes describes, in which life is nasty, brutish, and short. According to John Locke, the human state of nature is a peaceable, sociable one. He would say that the disaster of Lord of the Flies is the effect of a corruption of nature and not natural at all.

To purchase tickets for Lord of the Flies, visit the Cardinal website:

Buskirk-Chumley Theatre

Wednesday 7:30 p.m. (preview)
Thursday 7:00 p.m.
Friday 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Amber Hendricks
Themester 2013 Intern

1 comment:

  1. First class production, with solid performances by youthful cast. Golding is one of my favorite writers, and this performance is a rare opportunity to see one of his works as a live performance.