Senior couple sharing chores for practicum theatre production

January 19, 2010   

PLAINVIEW – Laura Coleman was still a student at Trinity Valley Community College when she saw a 2007 performance of “The Fall,” written by a former student in the theatre department.

So when she and husband Michael Callahan decided to tackle a full-length production at the Wayland Baptist University theatre department in fulfillment of their practicum degree requirements, the play immediately came to mind.

“I fell in love with the play immediately, and I knew I wanted to do something with this script sometime, whether to be a character in it or something else,” said Coleman, who transferred with her husband in the fall of 2008 to complete their degrees in theatre.

“The Fall” takes the Harral Studio Theatre stage this weekend, with 8 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Coleman will serve as director for the production while Callahan takes on the technical roles of set design, lighting and sound design.

The play was written by Daniel Hendley, Coleman’s friend and a classmate at TVCC who now serves with the U.S. Air Force and is deployed overseas. Though written as a short play, Coleman called on fellow WBU thespian Jordy Williams, a 2009 graduate and veteran of many Wayland productions, to help expand the story.

“Jordy adapted it more for a full-length production, adding more of the back story and fleshing it out a bit,” she explained.

The story involves a group of soldiers during wartime who get trapped in a dilapidated church building. The play follows their lives and their military experience and the more personal nature of war and military service.

“This really represents every war, because it looks into the souls and minds of the soldiers and the things they go through just to survive,” said Coleman. “It deals with losing friends and squad members and how they deal with that experience.”

Coleman said the spiritual aspect of the play is key and is a theme to which even those outside the military can relate.

“The point is that the ones that are left behind struggle so much and fight this mental and physical exhaustion and turmoil. But the one that sticks to his faith and believes that God will get him through anything doesn’t have the same struggle,” she said. “The underlying theme is that if you keep your faith even during the most heinous times, nothing is so bad you can’t get through it.”

Coleman said the U.S. military has always been a subject of interest to her, and she noted a great appreciation for the soldiers who make great sacrifices for the freedom of so many. She hopes the play will give audiences another facet of appreciation for those who serve and defend.

She also said the play is fitting for the Wayland stage as it shares the faith aspect that is so central to the university’s own mission.

“The whole point of Wayland is to learn and prepare for our areas of study in a moral environment and a place that is safe, with God guiding us the whole way,” she said.

Cast members for the show are Wayland theatre veterans Rachel Morgan Williams, Jordy Williams, Corinna Browning, Jake Miser, Rachel Steed, Carli Wilbourn, Daniel Arnold, Corben Waters and Jose Avila. Rachel Janney will serve as light operator, and stage management duties will be shared by Brittany Thomas and Lauren Greene.

Tickets for the show are $5 each and are available through the WBU Box Office at 291-1089.