Last weekend, Goshen College’s theater department presented their first fall performance of the year with Barbara Lindsay’s play Heavenly Light.Lindsay’s play takes place in a dystopian-like world and follows freedom fighter Lucinda Celeste, who goes on a journey toward self-discovery and reclaiming one’s voice.
“Even when things are hard … and she is broken … she is still finding good in the world,” said Abigail Greaser, the director of the play.
This is Lindsay’s second time winning the Goshen Peace Play award, a contest surrounding peace. The winning play is performed each year, but due to COVID-19, Heavenly Light was put on hold.
“We wore masks throughout rehearsals including breaks … to ensure safety,” said Oscar Murguia, one of the three cast members who played Rex. “For actual show days, we were permitted to go maskless … our entire cast and crew had been vaccinated. The moment we stepped off the stage, full mask protocol would go back into effect.”
Although the production and cast found themselves in a time crunch, with only three weeks to prepare, on top of the ongoing pandemic, there was a sense of excitement for all the moments that got them to their final product.
The other two cast members were Goshen College undergraduates Antoinette Mpawenayo (Lucinda) and Jocsan Barahona Rosales (Otto).
For Rosales’ role as Otto, he channeled inspiration from Marvel’s Loki, who he describes as a “snotty brat who doesn’t know what to believe in or who he can trust”
Rosales described the entire process as “exciting” and how being in-person “helps to get energy from the audience and … connect more to why you’re what you are doing.”
Murguia expressed a similar sentiment, saying that having a live audience fuels his performance as an actor.
The show was successful because of the importance of collaboration, which helped with productivity and the result.
“So much of the process is a matter of teamwork,” said Greaser. “I feel grateful to have worked with a cast that was so open and willing to give their ideas, creativity and energy so freely to this process.”
Lindsay further created the play to reflect modern-day. After the repercussions of 9/11, in which many individual freedoms were foregone in the name of safety, she brought pen to paper in order to create Heavenly Light.
“Lindsey then took that and expounded it onto an entire society which has given up freedom for safety,” said Murgia.
Heavenly Light has many different themes. Those involved hoped that the play encouraged audience members to think about how they can reclaim their voice, especially if they live in an oppressive society that wants to diminish essential pieces of their individuality.
“No matter how small you are in a broken system and world, your actions matter,” said Greaser, “Your voice is innately a powerful thing. The easiest thing is to stay silent. But, as we see in Lucinda, that doesn’t always mean justice will be achieved.”