Northwestern theatre honored at festival

Northwestern College theatre’s production of Terror Texts received a standing ovation and six certificates of merit at the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence Jan. 19–23.

Theatre professor Jeff Barker’s original musical, which received national attention last November, is scripted verbatim from II Kings 2 and 6, II Samuel 6, Judges 3, Joshua 7, and Judges 19–21. The show’s macabre scenes are too shocking for Sunday school. But staged by Goth-garbed actors, they evoke empathy.

Certificates of merit honored the show’s cast; directing by Barker; music composition by Joseph Barker; costume design by senior Brady Greer, St. Joseph, Mo.; lighting design by senior Drew David Vander Werff, Orange City; and scenic design by 2008 graduate Vaughn Donahue, an award-winning filmmaker.

Seniors Greer; Ben Bees, Yucca Valley, Calif.; and Tony Wilder, Westmont, Ill., were nominated for the Irene Ryan acting competition, based on their Terror Texts performances. Among 308 Irene Ryan hopefuls at the regional KCACTF, all three men were among the 64 actors who advanced to the semi-final round.

Hannah Sauerwein, a senior from Jackson, Miss., also received a certificate of merit for her lighting design for The Highest Calling? produced at Northwestern last April. The play’s cast received a certificate of merit for their acting as well.

Fifty-three Northwestern College theatre students attended the 41st annual festival.