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One-acts pushed their student directors, will challenge audiences

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The three student directors for this spring’s evening of one-act plays at Bethel College are trying to push themselves as well as audiences.

Seniors Joshua Lewis, Rialto, California, Gregory Parham, Pomona, California, and Will Shoup, Pratt, make up the Theater Production and Direction class taught by John McCabe-Juhnke, professor of communication arts.

Performances are May 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus. They are free and open to the public – however, due to adult subject matter and strong language, they are recommended for mature audiences only.

Shoup is directing A Number on the Roman Calendar by David Johnston and Babel’s in Arms by David Ives.

“I chose them because they’re both farces to some degree,” says Shoup. “They have different contexts and historical settings, but both deal with religious issues. They poke fun while also showing humanity.”

Parham chose Something New by Bo Anderson, because “it deals with a lot of trying to find your true identity – as we are as college students during these years. It relates to some of the stress and agony.”

Lewis is directing The Cowboy by Patrick Holland and The Wager by Neil LaBute.

These two plays “challenge the norm of what we get to see here [at Bethel],” Lewis says. “The content is a little harder to deal with than many. They make the audience ask themselves questions I hope they will carry away with them.”

All three students will graduate in May. Shoup is majoring in literary studies, and although both Lewis and Parham are communication arts majors, for all three of them, the directing class was an elective.

They agree that in their fellow students, they have “a lot of talent, and that’s exciting,” as Shoup puts it.

But it’s also challenging to direct their peers.

“You see them every day, and then you have to be hard on them in rehearsal,” Parham says, and Lewis adds, “You know they’re students, just like you.”

Cast list for A Number on the Roman Calendar is Leland Brown III, senior from Galveston, Texas, as Will, Cassandra Voth, freshman from Littleton, Colorado, as Margery, and Mikala Wertz, sophomore from Wichita, as Pope.

For Babel’s in Arms, the cast is Kate Jolliff, sophomore from Newton, as Gorph, Nick Preheim, freshman from Peabody, as Cannaphlit, Cassandra Voth as Priestess, Mikala Wertz as Businesswoman, and Heath Goertzen, freshman from Goessel, as Eunuch.

Something New features Logan Hughes, sophomore from Marana, Arizona, as Cliff, Kaitlyn Scribner, junior from Delia, as Dawn, and Garrett Smith, freshman from Moundridge, as Mac.

The cast of The Cowboy is Laird Goertzen, senior from Goessel, as The Cowboy, Charity Griffin, freshman from Oklahoma City, as Linda, Maya Kathrineberg, freshman from Salina, as Kim, and Rebecca Schrag, freshman from Newton, as Amanda.

Cast list for The Wager is Cam Ponce, junior from Elkhart, Indiana, as Guy, Julia Campfield, junior from Wray, Colorado, as Gal, and Leland Brown III as Homeless Dude.

The performances are part of the annual celebration of student work in a variety of disciplines known as the URICA Seminar – URICA stands for Undergraduate Research, Internships and Creative Activity.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2015–16 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2015–16. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.