Bethany College Theatre will present two original plays written by Bethany professors March 4-5. “In the Wake” by Associate Professor of Theatre Greg LeGault and Michael Speller will begin the evening followed by Professor of Communication Carl Isaacson’s short comedy, “Leaving.” Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.
“In the Wake” follows the fate of six historical women whose real lives were subject to and molded by the powerful changes taking place in the world around them, a world dominated by men. This hour-long performance begins in the 12th century on the Mongolian steppes and moves throughout time ending in Chicago 2009. The audience will meet the spouse of an emperor, the friend of an assassin, the daughter of a martyr, a queen who thirsts for adventure, a groundbreaking physicist and the acolyte of a controversial artist. LeGault explains that he and co-author Speller, “wanted to take their story a step farther. It is a work of fiction that is not intended to deny these women their accomplishments nor to distort the truth, but to “read between the lines” of history books.” This play received a Play Lab reading at the 2009 Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Neb.
The six female characters will be played by senior Brianna Kaiser of Hoisington, Kan., junior Chelsea Kenyon, Iola, Kan.; senior Erica Streit, Tipton, Kan.; senior Nicolette Unruh, Pawnee Rock, Kan., and Professor of English Linda Lewis.
Isaacson’s play, “Leaving,” was written while he was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. “It’s difficult to say what “Leaving” is about,” said Isaacson. “I wrote the piece in 1991, at a period when [Samuel] Beckett was very much in my thinking.” At the time, his writing was also influenced by the popular farce “Noises Off”, which propelled the play into theatrical hyperspace.
The story of “Leaving” follows a man and a woman who are trapped inside a play from which there seems to be no exit. Cast members include: sophomore Kaleb Feist, Salina, Kan.; and freshman Mackenzie Haas, Longmont, Colo. Sophomore Gabe Moore, Oberlin, Kan., will direct.
The crew for Bethany’s theatre productions include senior Brandi Patrick, stage manager, Aurora, Colo.; sophomore Scott James, house manager, Burleson, Texas; freshman Brian Wise, lighting, Arlington, Texas; and junior Braden Bruntzel, sound, Jamestown, Kan.
Co-author of “In the Wake,” Speller visited Bethany in 2004 to perform a one-man play, “Sugarplum Variations.” He returns to Bethany this March to conduct a workshop in conjunction with Isaacson’s Narrative Theatre class on Wednesday, March 3, from 2:00-3:30 p.m., in Social Science Center, room 14. The workshop, entitled “Your World and Welcome to It,” will give participants an opportunity to see how much “stage life” their own lives (or fictional lives) have to offer. He will help participants define the difference between storytelling and narrative theatre, offer some samples of narrative theatre, and begin creating a narrative theatre piece. The workshop is open to all.
Tickets for the two productions are $7 at the door for general admission and free for Bethany College faculty, staff and students. A talkback session will follow each performance.