Faith-based play competition held
Friday, October 26, 2007
By Carly Darrow
Oklahoma Christian University theater department is giving students a
chance to showcase their skills as playwrights. The department is
hosting a campus-wide competition to write and produce a 10-minute,
Ten plays will be chosen to be performed in front of an audience on
Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Judges will evaluate the performance and audience
members will also offer input. These two sources will determine the top
three plays that will receive rewards.
The entry period is already under way. Any student wishing to enter must submit a script by Nov. 9.
Phil Reagan, associate professor of speech and theater, said the
playwright competition is an event the theater department has always
wanted to do. Students, faculty and staff are all invited to write a
play. Nicholas Aspey, a junior planning to enter the competition, is
encouraging other students to take part as well.
“The more the merrier. I’ll bet there are a good number of people
who would surprise themselves with what they can do if they’ll try,”
Freshman Emmalee Mattern encourages others to get involved, saying this
may be the only time they get this sort of an opportunity.
Students can either write, direct or act for this production. Aspey said he is hoping to both act and write for the competition.
“I am fascinated by what motivates people every day, and acting
lets me experiment with different possibilities for why people do what
they do. Writing, however, is almost the reverse of this, what
personalities and situations lead to what potential results,” Aspey
said. “I love acting, but I’ve always loved reading stories and trying
to get inside the character’s head as well.”
This is the first competition of its kind for any university in
Oklahoma City or any Christian university. Organizers see many benefits
stemming from this competition.
“It gives students a chance to express themselves and share faith,”
Reagan said. “Directors and actors also get to work with new material
that has never been performed before which creates excitement.”
Barrett Huddleston, assistant professor of communications and theater, also said many benefits will come from this competition.
“Besides giving our campus community the chance to compose their own
creative works, the contest will provide innovative ways to integrate
faith and the arts,” Huddleston said.
Many students agree that the competition will prove beneficial.
Sophomore Clinton Corley said the competition is a good idea because it
allows writers to see their ideas come to life.
“I think this competition is definitely good for students to
participate in because it gives them a chance to have their work
recognized and brought through to completion,” Aspey said.
Since the competition is faith-based, there must be a Bible used as
a prop somewhere in the performance, and the first and last line of
dialogue in the play must be a quotation or presentation of a scripture
from the Bible.
Reagan said this makes the play a little more challenging but also
sparks possible creative ideas. It also insures that the plays are
Overall, students seem to like the approach.
“Being a Christian school, we have set standard for ourselves that
most establishments don’t have. In my opinion, it sort of sets us above
the rest because we are striving to challenge ourselves and achieve
moral standards set for us by our beliefs,” Mattern said.
Participants and theater faculty invite those students who do not wish to be directly involved to come to the performances.
Reagan said attendance will give students a chance to see their
peers work on stage and will give the audience a chance to see how
people are reacting.
“It will be a chance for discussion on what people feel is important
in their spiritual lives. It will stir up interest and perhaps a bit of
controversy. Theater is a conversation between performers and the
audience,” Reagan said. “This gives the audience a chance to
participate in something new and fresh and to challenge some ideas.”
These plays will be specifically directed towards the Oklahoma Christian campus audience.
“The competition allows OC Theatre to flex some new creative muscles
in addition to forming new artistic relationships with our campus
community,” Huddleston said.
Reagan hopes the play competition will reflect diversity of opinions
and ideas and, in the future, it could turn into an intercollegiate
“I hope this whole process, although it should be taken seriously, is also enjoyed and taken in good fun,” Corley said.