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One-act plays explore love, language and monkeys

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – This year’s lineup of student-produced one-act plays at Bethel College have themes ranging from marriage problems to Shakespearean monkeys.

Seven students in Megan Tyner’s Theater Production class selected and are directing one-acts, written by David Ives and starring fellow Bethel students. The plays will show twice, on May 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

Caitlin Buerge, sophomore from Kansas City, Mo., is director of “The Universal Language,” about a man who sets out to teach a phony language as a money-making scheme and the romance that ensues. Cast includes Jenna Boettger, freshman from Hesston, as Dawn; Johann Reimer, senior from Reedley, Calif., as Don; and Tobias Ruhle, junior from Wuppertal, Germany, as A Man.

Chelsea Chaffin, sophomore from Eudora, is director of “The Philadelphia.” The plot revolves around two men who meet at a restaurant. One explains the odd happenings of his day and the other counsels him on how to get out of his mysterious state. Cast includes Erin Bartlett, junior from Cheraw, Colo., as The Waitress; Matt Beth, freshman from Newton, as Al; and Allen Harpool, freshman from Sedgwick, as Mark.

Kate Larson, sophomore from Clay Center, is director of “Long Ago and Far Away,” involving a woman’s identity crisis, her husband who wants nothing to do with it, and time travel. Cast includes Megan Abrahams, sophomore from Canton, as The Landlady; Katie Franz, sophomore from Lawrence, as Laura; Jonathan Nathan, sophomore from McPherson, as Gus; and John Wiens, sophomore from Goessel, as Jeff.

Lindsey Miller, senior from Haven, is director of “Words, Words, Words,” a story about three monkeys assigned to the task of reproducing Hamlet on a typewriter. Cast includes Miriam Friesen, sophomore from Paoli, Ind., as Kafka; Brad Kohlman, junior from Lyndon, as Swift; and Tobias Ruhle as Milton.

Shawn Rath, junior from Moundridge, is director of “Where Have All the Lightning Bugs Gone,” the story of a random meeting in a park that turns into everlasting love. Cast includes Brittany Baker, freshman from Kingman, as The Girl, and Mambu Bayoh, senior from Houston, as The Bully.

Travis Roberts, a fifth-year student from Cheney, is director of “English Made Simple,” which looks into the way the English language is used in social settings, especially when two singles meet for the first time. Cast includes Dan Graber, sophomore from Marion, S.D., as Jack, and Susan Schmeichel, freshman from Hurley, S.D., as Jill.

Kristin Wedel, sophomore from Hutchinson, is director of “Seven Menus.” Set in a café, the play cynically explores the transience of dating relationships and marriage. Cast includes Heather Linscheid, junior from Fresno, Calif., as Dawn; Jonathan Nathan as Paul; Rodger Nugent, senior from Newton, as Fluff; Emily Piper, freshman from North Newton, as Ruth; Tarson Powers, junior from West Covina, Calif., as Jack; Bill Pruett, sophomore from Holton, as Barry; Laurie Steffen, sophomore from Cunningham, as Hazel; and Amy Swartz, sophomore from Wichita, as Phyllis.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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