Governor’s School for Arts to showcase ‘Lord of the Flies’

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In “Lord of the Flies,” the lost children gradually devolve from civilization to savagery, but there is light in the darkness. Literally, twins Sam and Eric keep the light through the campfire and are devoted to rescue.

This weekend, you can watch one of Southampton’s own play Eric at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk. Markus Joyner, 17, of Branchville, is a senior at the school, and he said that the twins are also the comic relief in an otherwise dark show. One scene that is exemplary of that is when they discover the beast.

“We are the first to see it, and it is scary,” Joyner said. “How we react to the beast, while we are scared, is comedic. ‘Oh my gosh, what is that thing?’ one says and the other exclaims, ‘I’m not staying up here!’

“You’ll have to see it to understand.”

The character is also a challenge, as the twins often talk over each other. Beside him throughout the show playing Sam is Jasmine Kiah of Portsmouth.

“Lines are always a challenge, but they especially were in this show,” Joyner said. “It took a lot of practice and rehearsal, and a lot of talking on the phone. She basically had to learn my lines, and I had to learn her lines.”

Joyner has been at the Governor’s School since his freshman year, and he’s played in “Unknown Variable” as Ayden; “A Comedy of Errors;” “Romeo and Juliet;” “Trojan Barbie” as Talthybius; “Stage Door,” as Adolph Gretzel; “You Never Can Tell,” as Finch McComas; and he also got an opportunity to play in Virginia Stage Company’s version of the “The Tempest.”

“Definitely my favorites were ‘You Never Can Tell’ — I got to wear a wig and fake mustache, and the character was such a deviation from who I am, very stuck up; and Talthybius — I had to learn an African accent for the show. I got praise for it, but I was always like, ‘Eh.’”

As far as accents go, he’s also doing a British one in “Lord of the Flies,” but the hardest was Adolph Gretzel, where he had to learn a German accent.

“Accents are a lot of work, even now,” Joyner said. “I pick it up more quickly now after so many years, but I’m still working at it.”

Back as a kid, Joyner can remember watching plays such as “The Dairy of Anne Frank,” put on by the Virginia Theatre Company, and several short stories that were adapted into plays. But his biggest influence came in seventh grade, when he was in a few plays, such as “Lamb to Slaughter” and “Terrible Things.” He got hooked, applied to both regional governor’s schools, and chose Norfolk.

“Acting represents — it is sort of my life right now,” Joyner said. “It is more than just a way to have fun, it is a way of life.”

Getting up on stage and performing is not all fun and games.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but there is a payoff,” he said. “You get to see the show you work so hard on to create, and from there you get to see people enjoying it.”

And he’s had audiences react well after the show in speaking to them, or even later at chance meetings.

“I had people come up to me and say Ayden changed their lives,” Joyner said about playing the bullied character in “Unknown Variable.” “They were able to stand up to their own bullies.”

And then there is just the general reaction.

“Friends have come up to me after shows and were like, ‘Marcus, I could not tell it was you. You were really good,’” Joyner said. “You become someone else up there. And that is a really good outlet for stuff that is going on in your life.”

As a senior, Joyner has started to think about college, though he’s had trouble narrowing it down. However, if he gets into all of the schools he is considering applying to, he’d choose Yale University.

“Because it is Yale,” Joyner added. “We actually have an alumni from the Governor’s School who went to Yale. She’s in a VSC play, and I was able to talk to her for a few minutes. She enjoyed every moment there. It’s a good school.”

Wherever he ends up, he wants to major in psychology and theater arts.

“You have to delve into every aspect of a character to make them believable,” he said. “If you can’t get into their head psychologically, then it comes off as fake.

“Theatre is a representative of life except for bigger.”

“Lord of the Flies” will debut on Friday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. Showings will also occur on Nov. 15 and Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. On Nov. 16 and Nov. 23, the players will perform at 2 p.m. And on Thursday, Nov. 20, the play starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students available at or by calling 866-967-8167. The Governor’s School for the Arts Dalis Black Box Theatre is located at 254 Granby Street in Norfolk.

This version of the play is a modern adaption of William Golding’s original novel adapted by Nigel Williams and first produced in London in 1993.

In this version, a group of school children are flown out of London to escape the bombs being dropped by Germany during World War II. The play begins after their plane crashes on a deserted island leaving the children to fend for themselves.

“Lord of the Flies” is directed by GSA Department of Theatre & Film Chair, Steve J. Earle. Scenery and lighting are by Shawn S. Crawford. Costumes are by Ricardo Melendez and sound design is by Michael Boso. The cast and crew are comprised entirely of GSA Theatre students.

“It is really a great show with really great actors — some of them are really blowing me away,” Joyner said. “The lighting, done by Shawn Crawford, is just amazing. And Steve Earle does a great job with directing dark shows.”

This play includes scenes of graphic violence that may not be suitable for young children.