Language of Angels

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Learn more about the story behind the play Language of the Angels that Jennifer Ferrin appeared in.  She played the role of Celie.   You will also find a review of her performance here.

Language of Angels Photos

 

Jennifer Ferrin, Karl Herlinger

Photo by Sue Coflin

 

McCafrey, Ferrin, Gibson

Photo by Sue Coflin

 

McCafrey, Ferrin, Gibson

Photo by Sue Coflin

 

Program Cover

Program Inside

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

 

The Story

by Lora for JenniferFerrin.net

 

Language of Angels, written by Naomi Iizuka and directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, tells the story of a close group of young friends living in the cave country of  Western North Carolina, and the tragedy that befalls them when one of their best friends, Celie, vanishes deep within the caves one night. Following Celie's disappearance, the shattered group struggles to cope with their loss and understand the unexplained manner in which she disappeared.  With mysterious and ominous undertones cast throughout the performance, the story follows these friends on their various life journeys after the tragedy.  Seth, her former boyfriend, has moved on.   JB is now the Sheriff.  Danielle has spent the past several years addicted to speed and is now recovering.   Sean died in a hunting accident, while Joliene died in her sleep.  Billy went to prison for murder and Tommy fell off a cliff. 

Upon hearing each friend's story, it is almost safe to assume that Celie's murder was a curse for them all. But the play also glimpses back to the events of that night and relays the brief untold story of what happened in Celie's own words.  Unlike most mysteries where the murderer is revealed at the end, we learn early in the performance that JB is Celie's killer.  In this powerful scene, Celie is onstage alone, exploring the depths of the cave and lightheartedly joking for her friends to join her.  In an instant, she is confronted by JB and her jovial mood quickly changes to fear as she realizes his intentions.  The alarm and terror in her voice and her actions are immediately followed by an eerie calm as the audience is given time to grapple with what has just taken place.   Coincidentally JB did not suffer a fated tragedy like the others. He lived a long prosperous life only to be tormented with the truth of his malfeasance on his death bed.  Symbolic of the butterfly tattoo that once adorned her right shoulder blade, Celie's ghost branded JB with simple words to remind him of his killing.  His final remarks as he lay on his death bed were simply, "It burns." 

One other key character in the Language of Angels was Celie's friend Danielle who spent much of her life addicted to speed and living in seclusion after Celie's murder.  Portrayed as a tough and no nonsense woman, Danielle is faced with the reality of death once more when her boyfriend Tommy falls off a cliff many years later.  However, her downward spiral of addiction and poverty is turned around at the conclusion of the performance when we learn that she has been in rehab and is no longer using drugs.  The audience also learns of Celie's spiritual presence surrounding Danielle in the play's final scene.  She stands from the table, the wind blows and Danielle calls Celie's name, giving the impression that it was Celie who helped turn Danielle's life around.

Perhaps Language of Angels sends the strong message that we can never escape the past, but we can determine our future.  We learn from JB that the actions of a lifetime are there with you even on your death bed.  Celie's presence at the time of his death was a reminder for the evil he had committed.  Although with Danielle we learn that no matter how bad the past once was, the future can be better.  Celie's unwavering presence with Danielle in the final scene proved just that.  

 

Jennifer Ferrin as Celie

by Lora for JenniferFerrin.net

 

In Language of Angels, Ms. Ferrin plays Celie, a young southern girl described by her friends as a wild and untamed free spirit whose life is tragically cut short by a mysterious murder deep within the caves one night.  When we first see Ms. Ferrin onstage, she is laughing and gliding effortlessly across the room in a whirlwind of happiness and satisfaction.  But within moments the audience sees that lightheartedness come to an end as it is shadowed by the calamity of her death.  Ms. Ferrin's graceful presence as Celie onstage, however limited, evoked an uncanny sense of realism.  Her performance gave the audience ample time to immerse themselves in her character and an opportunity to relate to Celie on a more personal level.  Ms. Ferrin's acting magically revealed Celie's love for life,  her devotion to her boyfriend Seth, and the fear she experienced just before her murder. Her powerful presence still reverberated in the essence of the play long after she was gone. During the performance, images of Celie were momentarily projected on a screen high above the stage revealing photographs and candid moments of when she was alive.  All this was in an effort to remember what was lost. They were memories of who she once was.  Laughter from these images pulled the audience from the gloomy atmosphere for which they were so entrenched, and back to the true nature of who Celie was.   

Ms. Ferrin also took the opportunity to display her talented singing voice in her portrayal of Celie.  Her soft and melodic sounds from offstage pierced the air and cast a soothing ambiance in the midst of despondency. Her acting and singing begged the audience's sympathy for Celie's death; a carefree, simple life cut short by tragedy, and begged that her killer be brought to justice.  The effortless way in which Ms. Ferrin illustrated Celie's character displayed her charismatic gift as an actress.  It reaffirmed her talent and dedication as well as the bravery in accepting roles that inspire her. 

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