Four original plays selected from the Barton Community College theater department’s Original Playwright Contest will take the stage in a one-night performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27. Admission is free. This is the first year Barton’s theater department has presented this series.
The four selected plays taking the stage are “In My Time of Need” by freshman Jose Flores, “Check-mate” by coauthors Lee Miller, director of Fort Leavenworth Learning Services, and Crystal Buck, Fort Leavenworth adjunct professor, “Why Love is so Hard to Find” by sophomore Kara Grosfield, and “Coffee Can” by John O’Connor, Great Bend.
“In My Time of Need” is about a young man in financial troubles who robs a rich family’s home and finds love and understanding from the family, values he didn’t expect.
Flores has been an active part of the theater department, having starred in “Our Town,” served as the technical director for the student production and now as the author and director of “In My Time of Need.” The diversity of his involvement is by design.
“I am trying my best to try all aspects of theater so I can become more well-rounded and useful,” he said.
Lee Miller & Crystal Buck
“Check-mate” features two competitors who learn to respect and maybe even love each other through their mutual love of chess.
Miller was a literature instructor at the Fort Leavenworth campus before taking a director position. Buck has both been on stage and directed shows. She is working on two doctoral degrees: a PHD in Musicology and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Opera.
“I love theater and have always wanted to see something I wrote actually performed; that would just be amazing,” Miller said. “When this came up I knew I had to jump at it.”
Miller generated the concept and wrote the story, while Buck formalized the story into a theater format and assisted in creative additions and problem solving.
Miller wanted something that would work with the one-act format but also provide depth in the content while trying to avoid any idea that was too trite. Buck said they worked a lot to not take the easy path of being just another dull love story.
“One word you can associate with this play is timelessness,” she said. “This game, of love, of finding yourself, is something that has happened and will happen through the ages. It may take on different forms and disguises but in the end, it is the same thing.”
“Why Love is so Hard to Find” is a comedy about two individuals looking for love, but can’t seem to find it even when it is right in front of them.
“If I were to use a phrase to describe my show it would be that ‘love is blind’,” Grosfield said. “I want the audience to leave in a good mood since it is a comedy, but in the back of their mind I want them to wonder if that is what they are doing.”
When Grosfield was walking around campus on her first day at Barton she noticed a sign about the theater department and thought that was an extracurricular activity she might enjoy.
“When I saw they were having this playwright series I thought I would try but never imagined they would select my play,” she said.
Grosfield will be directing and performing in the play as well.
“It took a lot of work to get where I am, but I am just really glad that I got to do it with such good people.”
Grosfield hopes to go into psychology with a minor in art so she can pursue art or theater therapy.
“Coffee Can” is about a variety of people contacting a radio show called “Buy, Sell and Trade.” Relationships soon begin to develop between call-ins and the radio host.
O’Connor is host of the KVGB radio show “Trading Post.”