BJU theatre students present a conversation about class differences and power, who deserves to live or die, and the meaning of life in the play Fog performed Thursday and again tonight at 7 and 9 p.m. and Saturday at 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Taking place in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean, the 25-minute student-produced play written by Eugene O’Neill follows a poet, a businessman, a Polish immigrant woman and her child as they wait for rescue following the sinking of their ship.
As they wait, the wealthy businessman and the sorrowful poet converse with each other over their own opinions about the purpose of life. When their clashing worldviews come to a head at the climax of the story, they must choose whether to change their views or remain steadfast to them.
Senior theatre student Megan King is the director of Fog as part of her senior capstone. King, who was in the middle of a directing class last semester when COVID-19 forced BJU to transition to remote learning, has been an assistant director but never the primary director of a play.
Directing Fog has been an interesting challenge for King, who said she has enjoyed the creative process of working with other members of the cast and crew to pull the play together. From lights to set designs to costumes, King has had a hand in everything, guiding the crew in their technical and artistic endeavors.
“I’ve always been the one to ask the questions and have someone in charge tell me what to do or give me direction on where to go,” King said. “As the director, I’m the one that has to have all the answers. It’s been exciting to see all the different elements come together.”
One of the other challenges King said she has faced is having such a small crew to help her. Many of the students who worked on Fog held multiple positions, pushing them to stretch their creative abilities. Fog also features an original song written by Aaron Marquez, a sophomore theatre student.
Kayley Baker, a senior theatre student, is the technical director and one of the actors for Fog. Baker said the small cast and crew have had to take on multiple roles, working together to help the play reach its fullest potential. But Baker said working together to overcome obstacles have helped all the students grow closer together.
“Theatre, by definition, takes more than one person,” King said. “If you just have an actor, you have no theatre. If you just have an audience member, you have no theatre.”
King is grateful to be able to put on a play in front of a live audience at all, especially amid a pandemic.
“Getting to see everyone grow in their love of theatre and become stronger artists has been super rewarding,” Baker said. “Just seeing how very different people have come together and become so close and had so much fun working on something has been very enjoyable.”
One of the other rewards of putting together Fog has been getting to work with the theatre department faculty. King said the faculty have helped her in letting her try new things, pushing her to explore outside her comfort zone and to use her God-given skills to the best of her ability.
“We’re taught and mentored and discipled by faculty who encourage our growth in the Lord,” King said. “[The faculty at BJU] always make sure to bring it back to what glorifies God, what honors God and what is the right thing to do.”
The cast and crew hope audiences will come away from Fog with something to discuss about the purpose of life and what meaning life might have, if any, without God in it. Baker said she believes there is something to be learned from the two very different worldviews presented in the play and how those worldviews and the people who hold them change.
“One of my favorite things about the show is that it shows change is possible,” Baker said. “No matter how stubborn a person may be, there’s no need or reason to give up on people because change is always possible.”