Four new plays in 24 hours. A unique and exciting theatrical experience is coming to Bethany College on May 1-2, 2015 when it hosts for the first time, “The 24-Hour Plays: Bethany College.” Plays will be performed Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burnett Center at Bethany.
“The 24-Hour Plays: Bethany College” will feature the work of four playwrights – Majkin Holmquist, a 2006 Bethany College graduate who was recently awarded a scholarship to Yale University’s prestigious M.F.A. program in Playwriting; Cody Whetstone, a 2009 Bethany graduate, director of Vision_Tek in Lindsborg, founding member of Next Stage Theatre Company, actor, director and designer; Dr. Carl Isaacson, Professor of Communications at Bethany, whose original play “Leaving” was produced at the college in 2010; and Chicago-based actor and playwright Mike Speller, who returns to Bethany for the first time since 2010 when his play “In The Wake…” was given its premiere.
Six brand new short plays written, rehearsed and performed in just 24-hours? Sound impossible? Crazy perhaps, but it has been done, across the country, since 1995, according to Bethany College Professor Greg LeGault, chair of the theatre department. And on May 1-2, Bethany College will launch its first ever 24-Hour Play Fest.
The Bethany College theatre department is looking for six playwrights, a group of dedicated and daring actors, directors and technicians to come together for the event that will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 1 and end with performances of all six plays on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
There is just one more opportunity to audition for a role in the Messiah Festival of the Arts production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which will be performed on Saturday, March 28 and Palm Sunday, March 29 to open the annual Messiah Festival.
The last audition for lead ensemble roles will be held on Thursday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Presser Hall. Lead ensemble roles will require acting, singing and dancing. Performers should come to auditions with a prepared song, performed in a rock-style. In addition to the prepared piece, a selection of music from the show and dances will be taught at the audition. Audition for the chorus were held November 16.
This year’s Messiah Festival begins March 28 and continues through Easter Sunday, April 5 and includes area art exhibits, concerts, fine arts workshops, and the Bethany Oratorio Society historic and rich performances of J.S. Bach’s “Passion According to St. Matthew” on Good Friday, April 3, and G. F. Handel’s “Messiah” on Easter Sunday. The Bethany Oratorio Society has been performing Handel’s “Messiah” since 1882, and Bach’s “Passion…” since 1929. Tickets for all events will go on sale January 1. Information about Messiah Festival can be found at www.messiahfestival.org .
Theatre Department Announces Fall Production
Children’s theatre will be the focus of this year’s Fall Theatre Production at Bethany College. Two short plays will be presented on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. in the Burnett Center for Performing Arts at Bethany. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $2 for children 12 years old and under.
The Bethany College Theatre Arts Department will host the one-woman show “Suicide Punchline,” featuring Dr. Jen Tuder, on Saturday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burnett Center for Performing Arts.
In this solo performance, Tuder tells the story of her survival and life after her father’s suicide. By interrogating the dead, kidding around at cocktail parties and building dioramas of the afterlife, she creates three distinct characters that represent different aspects of her survival experience. “Suicide Punchline” provides a lifeline for anyone who has ever wondered if there is life after a loved one’s death.
The Messiah Festival of the Arts kicks off with the Bethany Theatre Department production of “Nathan the Wise” by Paul D’Andrea, April 11 at 7 p.m. and April 12 at 2 p.m. in the rebuilt J.O. Sundstrom Conference Center in downtown Lindsborg.
Director Carl Issacson gives instructions to performers at a recent rehearsal
Directed by Carl Isaacson, D’Andrea’s work is a loose adaptation of the famous German poetic drama by Gotthold Ephriam Lessing. Lessing’s work has been hailed as a masterpiece of poetry. D’Andrea’s adaptation is prose and only loosely uses Lessing’s work.
At the heart of the story is thelegend of the rings. A father has a ring of authority. This ring conveys to the holder both power over the masses and the love of the masses. The father received the ring from his father and was prepared to pass it on to his son – but he had three sons and loved them each alike. To which should he give the ring and the power and the authority that went with it? Distressed by being forced to make a choice among his three sons, the father had two additional rings made, each indistinguishable from the original. Each son is given a ring, and each son is told that his ring is the true ring. The father passes, and the three sons each assert authority.
Bethany College Theatre presents Neil LaBute’s “The Shape of Things” on Nov. 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Burnett Center.
Tickets are available at the door. General admission is $7, senior citizens and Bethany college students, faculty, and staff are $5. Seating is limited to 50 each night so that the play may be performed in the round on stage. This play is for mature audiences as it contains adults themes and situations and strong language.
Bethany College Theatre will hold auditions on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 3 to 4, from 7 to 10 p.m. in Burnett Center for the fall production of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice,” a beautiful and haunting reimagining of the classic myth of Orpheus.
Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard is the story of a family struggling to save their family’s estate. Director Cody Whetstone knew that in order to portray this eccentric family and the servants and friends that surround them, he would have to cast an eclectic group of people.
“We knew this would be a perfect play to work on collaboratively with Bethany College and Broadway RFD,” Whetstone said. “To find such a diverse group of people, we needed both group’s resources.”
To bring Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard to life for his audiences, director Cody Whetstone made the decision to set the play in modern times.
“The play was written and set in Russia in the early 1900’s,” said Whetstone. “To show how universal Chekhov’s ideas and words are, we’re setting it in modern times. I hope it will help Chekhov’s play resonate with today’s audiences.”