The Commerce Journal


November 2, 2007

"Down in the dark...' is a stunning production

After three coal miners become trapped, their womenfolk bemoan their fate in “Digging Up the Boys.”

The 1930s-era mining drama, written by Texas A&M-Commerce; alumna Laura Lundgren Smith, is directed by Dr. John Hanners on the Main Stage of the Texas A&M-Commerce; Performing Arts Center.

As a powerful explosion followed by smoke occurs, miners Jack (Jacob I. Layton), Paul (Atseko Factor) and Floyd (Nathan Jacobs) find themselves stranded deep below ground.

In the meantime, Jack’s sister Ruth (Rachel Fields), Paul’s pregnant wife May (Lekethia Dalcoe) and Floyd’s 16-year-old daughter Addie (Kristi Lee) learn about the catastrophe at the mine. Even though the women desperately want to find out what the company is doing to rescue the men, they remain helpless because of the company’s continuing lack of actual concern about their employees and because of corrupt government officials who look the other way concerning mine safety.

Much of the action occurs near the entrance to “Mine 1,” where boozy and cynical mine foreman (Barry A. Berryhill), a loyal company spokesman, guards the portal.

At first he tells the women that there is hope.

“I figure the company will start digging for them tomorrow,” the foreman said.

Later he reveals what his actual role is.

“I’m a soldier,” he said. “I work for soldiers for 30 pieces of silver.”

The tired and hungry miners and the women are tied to the mine. All lament the fact that they owe their souls to the company store.

Surreal moments include the scene where the men climb up from underground, and May and Paul do a macabre dance, and when Ruth says, “We’re whistling in the dark” and a trio of whistlers punctuate the darkness.

A stunning poetic production, “Digging Up the Boys” evokes past times, and sadly, present times when men continue to risk their lives to mine below ground. The story of these three men and three women is the universal tale of women desperately trying to save their men from foundering.

Text Only
Featured Ads


What should be new A&M-C women's basketball coach Jason Burton's goals for the 2014-15 season?

Winning 10 games
Winning and LSC tournament game
His focus should be on recruiting/building the team, rather than immediate success
     View Results
Must Read
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide