Bethel play adapted for virtual requirements

Newton Kansan

It will surprise no one to learn that Bethel College’s annual Fall Festival theater production has gone online.

Fall Festival was originally scheduled for Oct. 1-4, but many events have been canceled. However, a few will go on, just virtually.

One such is the play “No Cross, No Crown – Covid Edition,” written and directed by Bethel Instructor of Theater Karen Robu.

“I wrote the play in 2010 as an independent study project when I was attending Phillips Theological Seminary pursuing my Master of Divinity degree,” Robu says.

“It follows the life of Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first female ordained minister in the United States, and her involvement with the woman’s suffrage movement.

“The play seemed timely, considering this is the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

“But it had to be rethought and video recorded to accommodate social distancing and the wearing of masks [by actors] when in close proximity.”

“No Cross, No Crown – Covid Edition” will be available to view on Bethel’s YouTube channel beginning 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2.

The cast is Jessie Thomas, junior from Sedgwick, as Antoinette Brown Blackwell; Allison Weaver, sophomore from Hesston, as Lucy Stone; Charlotte Ehrmann, junior from Wichita, as Ernestine L. Rose; Jaxie Gerk, senior from Holyoke, Colo., as Susan B. Anthony; Rachel Geyer, sophomore from Oxford, Iowa, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Nathan Garber, junior from Newton, as Stephen Foster; Nathaniel Schmucker, junior from Moundridge, as himself; Hayden Honomichi, freshman from Great Bend, as Rev. Luther Lee; Lilly Rainwater, junior from Henryetta, Okla., as herself; and Brad Born, professor of English, as Zoom Professor.

Special guest artists are Injoy Fountain (from The Voice) as Sojourner Truth and Yannic Dozier as Frederick Douglass.

The Women’s Choir is Annie Carlson, junior from Hurley, S.D.; Charlie Gibson, junior from Ashland; Addie Regier Kauffman, senior from Newton; Bethany Powls, junior from Garnett; Julianna Schrag, sophomore from Goessel; and Allison Weaver.

Musical direction is by William Eash and technical direction by Damon Klassen. The stage manager is Rachel Geyer. Sound technician is Jesse Balzer, junior from Hurley, S.D., and the videographer is Jacob Prickett. The costumer is Kaci Wilson, with hair and wigs by Jaxie Gerk.