Senior tackles Miller for theatre practicum

PLAINVIEW - Arthur Miller has penned some of the greatest plays in American theatrical history. With works such as Death of a Salesman, The Crucible and All My Sons to his credit, it is easy to understand why many people consider him among the greatest playwrights of all time.

On April 24, the curtain will rise on Miller's The Price in Wayland Baptist University's studio theatre as Brandon Campanella, a senior from Artesia, N.M., directs his first full-length play. He has directed three short pieces, Sunday Go To Meeting, Amelia's Second Step and Duck Pond.

Campanella took on the project as his senior practicum, choosing Miller's play last July.

"I love all the characters," Campanella said of the play that centers around two brothers and their lifetime of jealousy and anger. After a 16-year estrangement, the brothers finally meet at the family home where the years of animosity build to a climax.

"What really grabbed me about the play is that I am 21 and there is a lot in the play that I can relate to," Campanella said.

Not only will Campanella tackle one of the greatest playwrights of all time, but he is also directing a cast that could make most college students nervous. The role of Esther Franz will be played by Tisa Whitfill, Gregory Soloman will be played by WBU Webmaster David Howle, Ph.D., Wayland's theatre technical director Chris Moore will fill the role of Victor Franz and professor of theatre Marti Runnels, Ph.D. will play Walter Franz.

"It's Arthur Miller," Runnels said, "so it will scare any actor or director to death."

This is Runnels' first appearance on stage in three years. He last acted in the student production of "Molly Sweeney." Runnels, who has never directed or acted in an Arthur Miller play, said this will be his last acting role for "a long time."

"I am very excited about it," Runnels said. "Challenged, excited, scared . all that. I will love every moment of this. But I have warned every student that comes after Brandon that is within the sound of my voice, 'No! Don't ask. I ain't gonna do it!'"

Runnels said it is good for directors to get back in front of the curtain from time to time in order to remember what it is like to be an actor. He said it helps him understand what the students experience to produce a play. However, he joked that three years between acting jobs is "far too short" a period of time.

The Price is set for April 24, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. in the Harral studio theatre. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students. Reservations are available by calling the theatre box office at 291-1089. Theatre visitors bringing a grocery bag of canned food for Faith in Sharing House will receive a $2 discount off one ticket.