One of my favorite bits of Bethel tradition is our long-standing ability to pull off fantastic theater productions with a student body that hovers right around 500. Opening night of the second theatrical work of the semester, Agnes of God, is tonight. I went to the dress rehearsal last night to do a bit of photography (and get a sneak peek at the show!), and it was incredible. The actresses (Sara Volweider, Justine Erb, Audra Miller) almost disappeared into the portrayal of their characters, a chain-smoking psychiatrist, a nun and her Mother Superior. The production was haunting and full of makes-one-think moments.
What I love about Bethel theater is the chance to see different facets of classmates and friends as they are in character onstage. The actor or actress is never quite completely absorbed into his or her character and occasionally a facial expression, slight accent, or other small mannerism peeks out from time to time, reminding the student audience that Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Agnes, Fabrizzio Nacarelli or Otto Pfaff is in fact one of their own. Seeing a production always leaves me with a sense of pride at the hours of work students are willing to put into it and amazement at the high quality of singing, acting, scenery, and costumes that can be generated by such a small student body.