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July 15, 2017

In The Beginning… Looking for Lilith At 15

Poster for the original 2002 production of Crossing Mountains.


Crossing Mountains: To Teach All We Can and To Learn All We Can

Devised by Looking for Lilith Theater Company
Directed by Kathi E. B. Ellis

Review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2017 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

It’s an exciting time for Looking for Lilith Theater Company. This week marks LFL’s 15th year anniversary, a major landmark for the social justice driven company. The Unheard [outloud] Festival celebrates the unheard voices of all communities and makes way for new voices to share their stories. Among stage readings, workshops and original works, Looking for Lilith has remounted Crossing Mountains, their inaugural production about the impact of educators on an Eastern Kentucky town.

It’s very obvious why this production was chosen for this anniversary festival. Comprised of a five-actor ensemble, these performers weave in and out of characters like ghosts of a time gone by as they depict the struggles, growth, and change in a small town. Inspired and derived from the Hindman Settlement School in Eastern Kentucky, this production brings attention to the importance of education and how one idea changed an entire community.

Each actress pulls significant weight as storyteller. Shannon Woolley Allison, Sara G.B. Canary, Trina Fisher, Jennifer Thalman Kepler, Laura Ellis and Karole Spangler embody the souls who inhabit, “those wild hills.” Fisher and Allison, playing younger and older versions of one of the first students of Hindman, bring great zeal and balance as they share the same memories. Spangler’s capacity for character acting is given prominent focus as she plays judgmental mountain women, naysaying men from the town, and young, giggly school girls. As Ms. Carrie, a young schoolteacher, Spangler embodies the message of the production as an educator who fights the odds to provide opportunities for learning. Laura Ellis brings quiet strength as Lizey, a young student who finds her voice through learning. Sara G.B. Canary and Jennifer Thalman Kepler bring honesty to their portrayals of co-founders May Stone and Elizabeth Watts respectively. Facing the challenges of this impoverished town head on, Kepler and Canary hold true to the wisdom gained and fears met.

Staging in Looking for Lilith productions are one of a kind. And Crossing Mountains is no different. From the start of the show, we are whisked away into the mountains with great vitality. As the lights go up, we hear a chorus of voices, some excited for the new school, while others are hesitant for change. Movement is very prominent in this work. The most striking scenes occur when script and staging line up to create moving art. The cast utilizes pantomime in the space, illustrating new teachers scaling mountains to find the school location, cut wood, and create log cabin school houses, all of which accentuates the needs and desires of students wanting to learn.

The culmination of the word-movement bits occurs toward the end of production. Here we see great movement and clashing dialogue about dyslexia and how it affects the students and the rest of the community. A chaotic dissonance comprised of pushing, struggles and frustration, the scene obtains a lighter tone as the effects of the Hindman Settlement School come into play.

Crossing Mountains is an important work produced by an admirable theater company who deserves all the accolades of the last 15 years. With a message of change in the face of challenge, this play is the very backbone of Look for Lilith. Here’s to another 15 years, LFL!

Crossing Mountains: To Teach All We Can and To Learn All We Can

Clifton Center
2117 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40206

Schedule for the Unheard [outloud] Festival at Cliufton Center:


The Making Of Hindman Settlement School
Looking For Lilith Theatre Company
7/13 – 8:00pm | 7/15 – 3:00pm | 7/22 – 3:00pm | 7/23 – 6:00pm
Eifler Theatre

Civil War Dr. Mary Walker’s Inspiring Quest To Be True To Herself
By Nancy Gall-Clayton
Looking For Lilith Theatre Company
7/14 – 8:00pm | 7/16 – 3:00pm | 7/20 – 7:30pm | 7/23 – 3:00pm
Eifler Theatre

Exploring The Spectrums Of Gender And Sexual Orientation
Looking For Lilith Theatre Company
7/19 – 8:00pm | 7/21 – 8:30pm | 7/23 – 4:30pm
Reception Hall

Adanma Onyedike Burton
One Woman’s Experience Of Navigating The Social Taboo Of Miscarriages
7/17 – 8:30pm | 7/19 – 9:00pm | 7/21 – 7:30pm
Eifler Theatre

Celebrating Women Lyricists And Composers Of Broadway
Pandora Productions
7/14 – 10:00pm | 7/15 – 10:00pm | 7/17 – 9:30pm | 7/22 – 10:00pm
Reception Hall

A Satirical Exploration Of Issues Of Consent
Resonant Light Theatre Project
7/16 – 5:30pm | 7/17 – 7:00pm | 7/19 – 7:00pm | 7/21 – 9:30pm
Eifler Theatre



By Haydee Canovas
Lifting The Veil On The Cost Of Human Trafficking In Louisville
7/13 – 7:00pm
Adelberg Room

Julie Investigates The Death Of An African American Student
By Terkeisha Tyler
7/20 – 8:00pm
Adelberg Room



(Latina Immigrants’ Stories)
Play Reading & Discussion By EACM Women’s Group And LFL
7/14 – 6:00pm
Reception Hall

Participatory Drama Workshop By LFL For Children 4-8 & Their Parents
7/15 – 10:00am | 7/18 – 10:00am | 7/22 – 1:00pm
Adelberg Room

Led By Louisville Showing Up For Racial Justice And LFL
7/15 – 12:00pm
Adelberg Room

Workshop For Both Beginners And Those With TOTO Techniques, LFL
7/16 – 2:00pm
Adelberg Room

Exploring Spectrums W/TSTAR (Trans & Sexuality Teaching, Advocacy And Research)
7/21 – 9:30pm
Reception Hall

Creating A Collaborative Response To The Current U.S. Climate, LFL
7/18 – 7:00pm
Eifler Theatre

Public Sharing Of LFL’s Summer Drama Camp
7/20 – 6:00pm
Reception Hall


UNHEARD [Outloud] Festival Passes Include Admission To ALL Festival Events, July 13-23 (6 Productions, 2 Staged Readings, And A Variety Of Workshops). Lookingforlilith.Org/Unheardoutloud

Tickets May Be Purchased Online (Lookingforlilith.Org/Unheardoutloud) Or At The Door. Please Call For Group Rates.
PRODUCTIONS: $20 | $15 – Students/Seniors

Clifton Center
2117 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40206


Kate BarryKate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and as well. Thanks for reading!

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