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2011 Faculty & Staff News

Two Longwood employees in Waterworks Players’ upcoming production

June 2, 2011

Longwood University

Two Longwood University employees are appearing in the Waterworks Players' upcoming production of The Nerd.

Dr. Bob Webber, professor of mathematics and computer science, is playing Warnock Waldgrave, and Dr. Mary Jo Stockton, web technology coordinator, is portraying his wife, Clelia. The Nerd, a classic comedy by the late Larry Shue that premiered in 1981, will be presented June 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. by the Waterworks Players, a community theater group based in Farmville.

"My character is a hotel owner who has employed the hero of the play, who is an architect, to do architectural work," Webber said. "My character is a pretty pretentious, stuffy owner."

Webber has appeared in numerous Waterworks Players' productions stretching back over 25 years and at each of the theater group's several locations, including the first location on the Keysville campus of Southside Virginia Community College. His last Waterworks' production was 10 years ago in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He also has appeared in Longwood Theatre productions, most recently in Proof four years ago.

"Acting is a great hobby," said Webber, who acted in high school and college. "It's a lot of fun, a thoroughly enjoyable experience."

Stockton described her character in The Nerd as "an uptight, high strung schoolteacher who has to put up with a lot, between her dominating husband and her terror of a son. She holds it all in until she can't any longer and then diffuses that built-up frustration in a unique way."

Stockton has appeared in or assisted in other ways with numerous Waterworks' productions. She was stage manager of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in December 2010 and of Steel Magnolias in July 2009, played Mrs. Plunder the Giant's wife in Jack and the Beanstalk in December 2009, ran sound for Painting Churches in March 2011 and for Deathtrap in October 2010, and was part of a six-member ensemble cast that performed a staged reading in October 2009 of Shortcomings, a collection of 10-minute comedies by Dr. Brett Hursey, assistant professor of English at Longwood. She has been a Waterworks' board member since 2005 and has been the group's webmaster and photographer since 2000.

The main character in the Waterworks Players' production of The Nerd is played by a 1997 Longwood graduate, Brandon Nuckols of Prospect. Since taking the lead role of Jesus in Cotton Patch Gospel, A Bluegrass Delight in 2007 (his first stage experience, at age 30), Nuckols has appeared in many Waterworks' productions, usually on stage but occasionally behind the scenes as stage manager, as he did for  the production of Rent in 2010. Nuckols played Harold in The Full Monty and Mr. Lundie in Brigadoon. A family worker at the Discovery School of Virginia, in Dillwyn, Nuckols is currently a graduate student at Longwood, pursuing a master's degree in college and community counseling.

The Nerd has been called a "spring tonic of side-bruising laughter" in which the audience "almost never stops laughing." Another critic said "Laugh you will, not little titters at clever puns, but deep belly laughs, laughs that make your eyes tear up and leave you gasping for breath."

Set in an apartment in Terre Haute, Ind., the play is about a young architect, Willum Cubbert, who has often told friends that he owes his life to a fellow soldier in Vietnam, Rick Steadman, who saved his life when he was seriously wounded. Since the war, Willum has written to Rick telling him that as long as he, Willum, is alive, Rick will "have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you." Willum is delighted when Rick comes to visit but soon becomes frustrated upon learning that he is a socially inept nerd who wears out his welcome and causes near-disasters in Willum's personal and business life.

Tickets for the Waterworks Players' production of The Nerd are $10 and can be purchased by calling 392-3452 or visiting http://waterworksplayers.org. The production is directed by Dudley Sauve, a former member of the Longwood faculty.