Turning the tide: Baylor Theatre presents all-female cast in ‘Men on Boats’

Photo courtesy of Baylor Theatre

By Jamie Barrett | Reporter

Baylor Theatre’s first play of the semester may be called “Men on Boats,” but you won’t find any men on stage.

The production, which opened Tuesday night in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, is a comedic telling of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition. It follows his men as they navigate the Colorado River and face various dangers.

With an all-female cast playing historical men, it did not take much for the audience to erupt with laughter. From saviors without pants to enthusiasts of squash, every scene was accompanied with humor.

Through comedy, the play competes with what is taught in history books about the American frontier. The characters throughout the production are seen trying to name different landmarks after themselves, despite the fact that they keep mentioning how the landmarks were probably already named by the Native Americans in the area.

Bryan junior Aaliyah Carter — the actress portraying William Dunn — said the play highlights why claiming things that are not originally ours can be dangerous.

“I think it is doing a cool thing by having us tell this story,” Carter said. “But also, hearing the Natives have already claimed these lands — the Natives have been here already — really makes us look at our country’s history and makes us think about what we did wrong.”

Historical moments combined with comedic relief help the audience grasp the overall message of Powell’s story: togetherness. Director Marian Barshinger said she hopes the viewers leave with a better understanding of the beauty of community.

“Community is what is most important, rather than having something named after you or people remembering you forever and ever for something,” Barshinger said. “What is really beautiful is people acknowledging and being with you in the moment.”

“Men on Boats” is on stage through Sunday, and tickets are available on the box office website.