Messiah Festival theatre will feature two comedies

Bethany students will perform “It Should Happen to a Dog” by Wolf Mankowitz and Michel de Ghelderode’s “The Blind Men” this Easter season as part of the 2010 Messiah Festival of the Arts.

Performances of these two plays will be April 3 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. All performances will be held in Burnett Center and are free and open to the public. Bethany’s Messiah Festival theatre production is under the direction of Carl Isaacson, professor of communication.

Mankowitz’s one act retelling of the story of Jonah, “It Should Happen to a Dog,” features only two players as they construct a series of roles that make up the Jonah story, including Jonah, a Judge, a sailor and an angel. Through humorous dialog and quick changes of character, Mankowitz deftly tells the story of one of God’s most reluctant prophets, who would rather get swallowed by a great fish than go and preach against Nineveh, “that great city.”

In “It Should Happen to a Dog,” is produced as part of Bethany Communication Department’s course offering of Narrative Theatre with the role of Jonah B. Amittai played by senior Katie Mannebach, Oakley, Kan., and senior Cedric Schofield, Shawnee, Kan., as a man.

The second offering on the Messiah Festival stage is de Ghelderode’s play “The Blind Men.” As a French speaking Belgian playwright, de Ghelderode created this work during his “Ostend” period, a time of great religious ferment. He takes his inspiration from a painting by Pieter Breughel, The Parable of the Blind Men, featuring six blind men on the road. The play features three blind men and they are rescued by the one eyed character, the king of the kingdom of the blind. The suspense of this play revolves around the idea of rescue and our blindness to our own need for one who will redeem us from our fate.

For “The Blind Men”, senior Ty Russell, Pleasantville, N.J., will play Den Os and De Strope will be played by senior Gabe Moore, Oberlin, Kan. De Witte will be portrayed by international student Valentina Puchkova, Kazakhstan, and senior Rachel Bouza, Leavenworth, Kan., will play the King of the Ditch County Lamprido.

Bethany’s 2010 Messiah Festival of the Arts includes the 129th consecutive annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah” by the Bethany Oratorio Society, held March 28 and April 4 at 3 p.m. in Presser Hall. The Bethany Oratorio Society will perform Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” April 2 at 7:30 p.m. A full schedule of Messiah Festival art exhibitions, theatre performances and ensemble concerts is available at www.bethanylb.edu/messiah.