Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Fine Arts Department is presenting two plays, The Water Engine and Mr. Happiness by David Mamet on June 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and June 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. in the Cumberland Hall Auditorium on the campus of Fayetteville Technical Community College. 

John Doerner and Patricia Cucco are co-directors of the plays. 

The Water Engine takes place in a radio studio. It is a depiction of what radio actors did in the studio in 1934 in Chicago, which was to stand in front of the microphone with their scripts. It is a radio play that becomes a realistic play. 

“We play with the audience’s perception and according to the author there should be three realities,” said Doerner. “At times they are radio actors, real actors and sometimes they are both.”

 Doerner added that the play is surprising to the audience and the cast is the best cast that he has ever worked with. The cast consists of students, teachers and actors who bring 100 percent every day to rehearsal. 

The Water Engine is about a man who invents an engine that runs on water. “He goes to a patent attorney to try and patent it and things go downhill from there because they try to take advantage of him,” said Doerner. “He has separated the hydrogen from the water and it makes you think about the impact that something like this would have on our economy and culture and how people would deal with that.”    

Mr. Happiness opens the show. It is a short piece that begins a larger play. The play is one long monologue and the actor is James Dean. 

“He reads letters on the air to the listeners and he answers them,” said Doerner. “It is a lonely-heart kind of Ann Landers thing.” 

Doerner added that Mr. Happiness is performed before The Water Engine

Doerner is an educator and actor from New York City and has always had a passion for the theater. 

“We have wanted to do this play for 25 years now,” said Doerner. “I chose this play because it has a lot to say about government, ambition and politics which is very timely in reference to today.” 

Doerner added that the play was written back in the ‘70s.     

“There is something about theater that touches and stays with us in a place that nothing else touches,” said Doerner. “If you can be a part of creating that, you are contributing to the culture and that is what I like to think I do.”  

The play is free and open to the public.  For more information, call 678-0092.   

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