Student-written plays offered staged reading and chance to be produced in next year’s season
Bethel College theater students have written plays and submitted them to The Company, the student theatre club, which is hosting a staged reading of each play with a full cast. The readings will take place on Saturday, April 7 at 5 p.m. in the basement of the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium.
In addition to the reading, each play has the chance to be selected for production next academic year. Don Hunter, chair of the theater department, said that using a student-written new play for one of the shows is something relatively unique to colleges, while there are some that do it.Hunter went on to talk about the vital importance of new plays in an environment like Bethel with a Christian worldview. “A lot of plays that are written don't necessarily have a Christian worldview,” Hunter said. “…If we want to make a difference in our world, we need to be the ones writing the stories.” This highlights one crucial aspect of these student-written plays; the positive impact on the culture. There is also a much more personal impact that is felt by the playwrights themselves. Junior Kayla Rundquist, English and theatre double major, wrote two of the plays that are being read. Rundquist recounted her experience watching rehearsals for plays that she writes. “It is valuable to see how the actors take my work and understand it and make it personal to them,” she said. “They translate it with their own voices and their readings help me to see flaws in the work.” A similar event to this took place the spring of 2016, and that year, Rundquist’s play, “Like Watchmen,” was selected to be produced. She said that, when her play was produced, it “opened my mind to the prospect of being a writer. It's so often that, as a young writer the writing world seems so daunting, and it seems that no one cares about the time you spend writing. Having my work produced was encouraging at this aspect and showed me that I might be able to pursue writing as a full-time occupation.” She also said that she began considering graduate school for writing as a result. Her experience with writing a play for Bethel resulted in a sense of direction for her. This year, Rundquist has written two plays, “The Move” and “The Cause of His Death.” The other two plays being read are “God of My Own World” by Wesley Lantz and a one-act play called “Change” by Leah Jordan. People are encouraged to come and listen to the readings. The play being produced will be announced following the reading. The new student-written plays are great opportunities for theater majors and aspiring writers like Rundquist to get an idea of the direction they want to go in their lives, as well as provide a good play that can impact society by, as Hunter said, supporting a Christian worldview. (Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash)