Bob Jones University’s theatre department is preparing a wide variety of productions, which will begin to premiere in early October to delight the students of BJU.
The theatre department is finding creative ways to plan and stage shows while observing COVID-19 restrictions, and the rules have inspired them to think outside the box in order to tell a story.
“We just want to be together telling a story to an audience,” Dr. Erin Naler, head of the theatre department, said. “Whatever that looks like, we’ll be okay.”
The graduate students kick off the season with an adaption of Flute Dream, which will be performed on Oct. 6 and 7. Graduate theatre student Jordan Ford is directing the performance, which will be outdoors, making Flute Dream unique among the other plays this season. The play is adapted from Hermann Hesse’s short story of the same name, in which a young man leaves his home to discover the world and encounters a pretty girl, a strange old man and a boat.
Later in the month Measure for Measure will be performed on Oct. 16 and 17. The Shakespeare play, featuring an all-female cast, was part of last semester’s season but the cast was able to perform only once before BJU moved to remote learning. The majority of last semester’s cast will return for this semester’s performances to tell a story of morality, power, abuse and forgiveness.
Naler, the director of Measure for Measure, said the energy and excitement surrounding the show is evident. Naler said she looked forward to putting on this production for the students of BJU, especially in light of the effects the COVID-19 pandemic have had on the community.
“You cannot replace presence,” Naler said. “Even being present on stage is going to be powerful for us . . . and being present as an audience is a big deal, especially now when we haven’t really been able to be present with one another.”
Thinking outside the box is a running theme this semester. Megan King, a senior theatre major, is thinking outside the box as she directs and puts together a play titled Fog. It will run Oct. 29 through 31.
Written by Eugene O’Neill, Fog is the story of three characters adrift in a lifeboat and the conversation they have about class differences and who should live or die.
King is directing Fog as part of her senior capstone and said that having the opportunity to return to in-person classes to do theatre was a privilege she is grateful for. She encourages students from all majors to come see as many of the different plays as they can.
“I think coming to see shows on campus as a student, even if you’re not a [theatre] major, is important,” King said. “Nearly everywhere else you look no one is doing theatre. The fact that we’re doing it at all is an incredible opportunity and an incredible gift.”
Differences in class and privilege are also a theme that A Christmas Carol will touch on during its showing on Nov. 13. Ron Pyle, a faculty member of the theatre department, is the director of the play.
A classic play based on the story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol will be staged like a 1940s era radio drama, putting a unique spin on a familiar story.