Jack Press '18 and Elise Czuchna '18 in The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, March 2017

The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek

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When: March 3, 4, 10 & 11 at 7:30 p.m.; March 11 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: Flex Theatre, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts

Every day after school in rural Kentucky, working-class teens Dalton Chance and Pace Creagan meet beneath the railway bridge at Pope Lick Creek to practice running the track. A prospectless future emboldens the pair to play chicken with an oncoming train. When Pace turns up dead, all eyes turn to Dalton. Did he murder her? Or is there another explanation?

Partly based on real events, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by MacArthur genius award winner Naomi Wallace draws on the playwright’s experiences growing up in Kentucky; the play will run March 3–11 at Cornell’s Schwartz Center. The real Pope Lick Creek runs through Louisville and is home to a massive railroad bridge that has been the scene of tragic deaths similar to the incident central to Wallace’s play. Nick Fesette, a PhD candidate in Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts, directs The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek and explains that Wallace recalls historical and personal events “as a metaphor to reflect on class, gender, and the violence of poverty during the Great Depression.”

Fesette says his small but cohesive cast of Cornell undergraduate actors takes on the challenging material with an infectious energy. The excitement partly stems from the playwright’s method of presenting events in a cinematic, nonlinear manner that builds tension among the audience.

“Wallace’s plays aren’t widely produced in the States, but she’s regarded as one of America’s best contemporary playwrights, particularly in Europe,” explains Fesette. “Her work is strange, lyrical, and political at the same time, and she typically examines major moments in history from the perspectives of ordinary people in order to stage how we can today assert agency to make social change.”

The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek

by Naomi Wallace

Director: Nick Fesette PhD '18

Assistant Director: Chisom Awachie '17

Dramaturg: Erin Stoneking, PhD '19

Costume Designer: Meghan Brents-Houston '17

Scenery Designer: Kent Goetz

Lighting Designer: Kimberly Jack '17

Sound Designer: Warren Cross

Stage Manager: Howard Klein

Assistant Stage Manager: Rhythm Kim '19


Pace: Elise Czuchna '18

Dalton: Jack Press '18

Gin: Elana Valastro '17

Dray: Irving Torres '18

Chas: Sam Morrison '17

The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek Photo Gallery