Student-written play selected for 2019 theatre lineup

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Last year, the Bethel College Theatre Department produced the play "Like Watchmen," written by Bethel student Kayla Rundquist.
Next year, the department will produce another student-written play, entitled "God of My Own World." The play was written by senior communications major, Wesley Lantz, and follows the story of Adam Heiland, a curator at the Ann Arbor Public Library. "His intern, Georgia, one day brings up this old manuscript that has [Adam's] name on it," said Lantz. "It says 'Fog of War.' It's a play manuscript. And Adam takes it home, and as he reads through it, the characters from that play actually come to life in his head." As the story progresses, a couple of the characters begin to argue about whether Adam should finish the script or not, and Adam becomes obsessed with it. "It starts taking over his life a little bit," said Lantz. "His old fiancée, Ginny, comes back into his life, conveniently at the same time that this manuscript shows up. Everything from Adam's past now starts to come into his present, and these two [or] three characters in his head are kind of the lynch pins in all that... it's hard to summarize without spoiling things, but that's essentially what it plays with." Donald Hunter, theatre department chair, found Lantz's play "intriguing." "The whole show is taking place, really, in the author's mind," said Hunter. "It's a unique perspective on a playwright's mind." Though it will be almost a year before the show premieres, the actual process began last summer, when Lantz first started writing the play. "As a writer, as a creator... when I write, my characters kind of have a voice in my head, and kind of tell me, you know, what to write," said Lantz. "I want to give people a glimpse into the mind of a creator, having characters talking to you. And then that kind of evolved into these characters arguing, and then the voices kind of almost vying for control." The opportunity to have Bethel produce the play originated with a play-reading festival put on by the Company, a theatre club on Bethel's campus. "We took the submissions and read through them as a potential to produce a new work," explained Hunter. "We did that a couple of years ago, and we decided to do it again this year, and I think as long as we have a viable script from that festival we'll continue doing it every two to three years." Hunter added that he believes this is an important way to encourage young writers and help them get their work publicized. "In order for Christians to make... more of an impact in society, we need to be writing the stories," said Hunter. As for Lantz, he looks forward to seeing where this opportunity will take him. "After this, I'll probably see if I can get it published," said Lantz. "I don't know if there's a ton of local theaters that do new work, but I will definitely keep writing plays, and keep submitting it to places to see if they'll produce it; and I'll just keep writing just in general. Whether it's novels, plays, short stories, whatever, I'm going to keep writing. This is kind of a step in the right direction to say, 'Hey, maybe I can actually see if I can get this stuff published.'" The show will premiere on Feb. 8, 2019 , in the Octorium in Middleton Hall of Science.
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