Looks like playwright Jason Williamson took that shortcut to the beach down I-73/ I-74, back when his plays were first being produced at the Greensboro Fringe Festival and the Broach Theatre. (That would have been before his works subsequently started showing up at competitions at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Carnegie Mellon and the Kennedy Center.)
What makes us so sure about that? Let's just say Williamson gets a little free publicity every time a motorist drives past a certain highway sign, a few miles north of Star, for the two small farming communities whose names now form the title of his atmospheric play. This reportedly poetic work about an awkward adolescence somewhere in coastal Carolina got decent notices in a 2009 New York Fringe Festival production following its showcase at Lincoln Center. Sixteen-year-old Skeeta (named after the official insect of the Low Country, at least during the rainy season) is fascinated by the strange flora and the equally uncanny tales of her region. But how long can she hide among both to keep from facing some unsettling facts about the transitions her family is going through?
Critics praised the lyrical language and compelling storytelling woven through Williamson's work. Steven Roten's Stillwater Theatre takes this nature-based work outside, staging it on the Finley Rooftop Terrace at N.C. State's Raulston Arboretum Thursdays through Sundays through June 5. —Byron Woods