Curtain ready to draw for two theatre seniors

By Kate Stoltzfus

Though the fall semester is drawing to an end, for two seniors, Kristina Mast and Meg Kennell, the show is just getting started.

This Sunday the curtain opens for “Mary Rose,” Mast’s senior theater recital. Kennell’s play, “Twilight: Los Angeles 92,” will be performed in December.

Both Mast and Kennell began thinking about which play to choose last summer. The process has been collaborative; Mast acts in Kennell’s play, and Kennell is directing for Mast.

Mast’s play, “Mary Rose,” is by  J.M. Barrie, who is best known for writing “Peter Pan.” The play, set in the 1870s, is about an English girl named Mary Rose and her family. Over many years, they witness the strange effects of a mysterious haunted island.

“Not many know that J.M. Barrie wrote anything else besides Peter Pan,” said Mast. “People who like Peter Pan will like this play. There is romance and a ghost.”

Mast, who is majoring in English and theater, has been on stage since she was a child. In her time at Goshen, she has been involved with many mainstage plays, in performance and behind the scenes.

“Theater exposes you to new things,” said Mast. “I get to meet new people I wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet.”

Kennell also began in theater as a child. “I was home-schooled and joining a local theater was a way to meet others,” said Kennell. “After the first production, I loved it. It’s given me lots of tools for everyday life.”

Now double majoring in English and theater, Kennell looks back over her time at Goshen fondly. She has acted in several plays and been involved with almost every show. Mast’s play is Kennell’s first directing experience.

“In any production, being part of a community is fantastic,” said Kennell. “You get to see sides of people you normally wouldn’t.”

Kennell’s play is directed by Patrick Maxwell. “Twilight: Los Angeles 92,” focuses on racism in the aftermath of the Rodney King trial in 1992. The characters portrayed are based on real people.

“The biggest challenge was how to deal with an ongoing theme,” said Kennell. “[Racism] is still a relevant issue. How do you present it to people who have heard it before and make it meaningful?”

Both Mast and Kennell enjoyed artistic independence.  “There was no faculty involvement in the directing or casting, which was a really interesting process,” said Mast. “I’m so happy with who was cast and loved working with them.”

With the performances drawing near, both Mast and Kennell are eager to see  reactions from an audience.

“I love this script and nobody’s heard of it,” said Mast. “I’m excited to see what the audience thinks.”

Kennell said,  “I hope the audience takes away a sense of hope. Even with the problems we face, there is hope that we can cross bridges and work together.”

“Mary Rose” shows in the Umble Center on Sunday at 8 p.m. Admission is free and a reception will follow in the Yost room. “Twilight: Los Angeles” will be performed on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Jerry Peters at  535-7391 or Doug Caskey at  535-7393.

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