Topic: College of Fine Arts

March 29, 2019

“The Giantmaker,” inspired by true events and written by Ball State University Assistant Professor of Playwriting Thomas Horan, debuts at the Strother Theatre on April 5.

Set in post-Civil War America, “The Giantmaker” takes one of the most famous hoaxes in U.S. history, the Cardiff Giant, and spins a larger than life theatrical tale. Protagonist George Hull constructs the 10-foot-tall “petrified” man, hoping to trick Bible literalists, yet he fails to realize how the oddity will capture the imagination of the scientific community, the media, and the American public.

“The play crisscrosses storytelling styles rapidly,” said Director Drew Vidal, “sometimes grounding in realism, often leaning towards farce or absurdism, and always relying on the theatrical. It is poignant, topical, engaging, and funny. This play shows us that the wrestling match between science and religion, reason and faith, and nonbelievers and believers is alive and kicking.”

Horan, a playwright and sound designer, currently serves as playwright-in-residence at The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, where he has premiered four plays. He said ‘The Giantmaker’ project is an example of how Ball State empowers faculty and students.

“I always feel fortunate when I get to share my work with collaborators,” Horan said. “I like that the play is no longer only mine. The circle of ownership widens to include what the actors bring to the characters, what the designers bring to the space, the director has brought to the project, and all the work done by the dozens of people who make a show possible. Finally, when we open, the audience will bring their reactions, insights, and emotions.

“I’m excited about this play being produced because it’s so impractical. Outside of musicals, it’s rare to see more than four or five actors on stage, but ‘The Giantmaker’ has 16. I wrote it a number of years ago, thinking it would never get done, but this play is perfect for Ball State, where we have the depth of talent to take on such a large show.”

Showtimes are April 5-6 at 7:30 p.m., April 7 at 2:30 p.m., and April 9-13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at or at the box office located directly across from the main entrance to Bracken Library, open noon to 5 p.m. and reachable by phone at 765-285-8749.

By Emily Gralak