Written at Washburn: Student-made plays debut at Washburn’s Neese Gray Theatre

Brandon Bills

Three one-act plays created by Washburn students debuted Friday night at Andrew J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre.

“Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics,” “The Arecibo Message” and “Bob of Greece” were not only written, but designed, directed and acted by Washburn students. For many involved, it was their first time being part of an original production.

“It was kind of bizarre really, hearing your words come out of someone else’s mouth,” said David Bury, writer of “Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics.”

“Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics,” directed by Cory Ashline, is a commentary on the nature of war. Set in a war zone, two soldiers (Nick Webb and Edmond Leboeuf) swap stories of battle and dehumanize the enemy, unaware of whether the other is friend or foe.

“The Arecibo Message,” written by Maxwell Frederickson, is a rather abstract play that leaves the audience with many questions. A prince (Michaul Garbo) looking for his father enters a room, but instead finds a butler (Phillip “Brail” Watson) who presents to him a variety of characters whom deliver head-scratching monologues.

Many students are involved in more than one of the three-act plays. Matt Steiner directed “The Arecibo Message” and wrote “Bob of Greece,” in which he had an a acting role. Steiner said it is unique for a playwright to be so closely involved with a production.

“A playwright generally doesn’t get to see it evolve from the script to the stage,” said Steiner.

“Bob of Greece” is a farcical comedy with a cartoonish feel. The play re-tells classic Greek myths through the eyes of the title character. Bob (Kevin Weaver) gets picked up hitchhiking by Oedipus (Mike Pokorny). During the course of the chariot ride, Bob tells of his adventures which include Jason (Michaul Garbo), Hercules (David Crawford) and Odysseus (Phillip “Brail” Watson).

According to Michaul Garbo, performing in a play written by a fellow student is a bit different from most productions.

“When you know the person, you don’t want to step on a nerve,” said Garbo. “If you mess it up, he’s right there.”

The three one-act plays will continue at 8 p.m. Feb. 20-21 and 2 p.m. Feb. 22.