Students join artistic forces for original production on creation

Release Date: March 11, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – A random decision to take lessons at a local dance studio has evolved into an evening of music, acting, art and dance that reflects the theme of the creative process, set for early April. The creators? All students at Wayland Baptist University.

The principals behind The Burning – self-titled conceptual directors – are WBU junior Rachel Morgan of Plainview and senior Jordy Williams of Shallowater. But they are quick to point out that the production really is a team effort, since about 25 students are involved in some form in the performances.

When the piece first started taking shape, the original group of 12 wanted to do a production that involved several different performance genres. They opted for a concept show, built around the idea of the creative process. When Morgan approached Williams – to whom she is engaged to be married in June – about the show, he admitted some confusion.

“When they approached me about it, I thought it was pretty vague,” Williams admitted with a laugh. But after more conversations, they were all on the same page. A very wide page with few ruled lines, in fact.

“We wanted the show to contain as many art forms as we have access to,” Williams added. “It’s basically narrated with spoken word poetry and accompanied by an original musical score that (Rachel) composed, using students as instrumentalists.”

Williams penned the narration portion, while Morgan contributed her musical skills to the composition. Others have written monologues, choreographed dance segments and written dramatic scenes for the production. A blank canvas on the stage will take shape as a painting by students Sarah Buckland and Kristi Morris by the end of the production.

Williams’ work serves as the skeleton to hold the production together, written in six “movements” similar to a musical work. Each movement, he explains, explores another facet of the creative process, with the last greatly resembling the first, representing the idea that creating is a cyclical process.

“One of the major themes is the universal nature of the creative process,” Williams said. “Creativity is not restricted to artists. The need to create and make something of our lives is universal.

“The show is really a collage of things all about the same message.”

Morgan and Williams note that the two performances of the show will be in the round, with seating surrounding the audience, and that audience participation will be involved, though attendees need not feel threatened by this aspect. Instead, they hope to point out another truth about the creative process: outsiders are often involved, whether purposefully or not.

For the shows, Williams is serving as acting director and Morgan as musical director. Jake Miser and Meredith Hardy are serving as dance directors and choreographers.

The Burning will be performed on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4 at 8 p.m. at the Student Ministries Activity Center, located in the Trinity Building at 9th and Utica streets. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for Wayland students, with all proceeds split between the Wayland theatre department’s upcoming trip to London and a national organization called Save the Music, which works to keep music and arts programs in public schools.

The performances are open to the public and hope to inspire a more creative atmosphere in Plainview with a forum for various art forms in one place. Following the performances, the organizers are offering a space for local artists – musicians, painters and writers among others – to showcase and sell their work. Concessions will also be served as well. Anyone wanting to be involved may contact Williams at (806) 790-8575.