Van Hessen writes play for SCCC theater

Angelica Alfaro, Editor

Students will get the chance to perform an original one-act play this year for the fall theatre production. That’s Mighty Liberal is written by first-year theatre instructor Michele Van Hessen and CJ Barton Carmichael.

Auditions are open to anyone in the community and  will be held on September 22 at 8 p.m., September 23 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and September 24 from 2p.m. to 5p.m. Auditions are for actors, singers and dancers. Scripts will be available at the auditions.

The play will debut on Dec. 14, with performances at 8 p.m. on both December 13 & 14.

The original one-act is a comedy-drama of the life of two families in Liberal.

“The play embraces the soul and struggles of family life, while reflecting on Liberal’s diversified history of unusual happenings accented by tough, dedicated people,” Van Hessen continued.

The play includes adaptations based on the book, “Liberal and Seward County,”  written by local historian, Lidia Hook-Gray.

“When I got the position here (at SCCC), I saw a copy of Thornton Wilder’s play ‘Our Town.’ I thought it would be a good idea to do a play about Liberal because I found out there hadn’t been anything like that done here,” Van Hessen said.

Van Hessen also plans to feature photos of Liberal’s history with new digital technology throughout the play.

During Van Hessen’s classes and in her plays, she expects students to grow. “There is an opportunity to grow with theater. Whether you want to do it or not, you will learn self confidence and gain great skills for the job market,” Van Hessen said to Leader and Times during an interview.

With Van Hessen being the theater instructor and the director of the fall play, she wants her students and the community to learn more about Liberal’s history from the play. She believes that it is very important to know the history of the town in which you live.

“I want to be able to grow the theater department and give the students great knowledge of acting and literature,” Van Hessen stated in the same L&T interview.

The characters in the play are: Christopher Grant, a young boy between the ages of 9-12 and a famed historian, lecturer and the President of the Kansas Historical Society, Lillian Luxembourg, who is 40-50 years of age. The play also includes two 18-year-olds: John Rogers and Sarah Luxembourg.

Another character is Dr. Eric Luxembourg, a 40-50-year-old who is a professor and President of the college.

The last two characters are Sheriff Carl Rogers, the local sheriff, and Elizabeth Rogers. Along with the main characters, the play will also include 10-12 choir members.