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'Black Comedy' Uses Stage Lighting to Humorous Effect

posted Oct 15, 2012 in CAMPUS EVENTS

(L to R) Zach Winkle, junior, Goddard, Kan.; Jacee Coberly, Jacee Coberly, senior, Gove, Kan.; James Covel (sitting), freshman, Goddard, Kan.; Justin Dean Biegger, junior, Fuquay Varina, N.C.; and Grahm Mananna, senior, Hoxie, Kan., rehearse a scene for "Black Comedy"
Students in theatre are often taught that stage lighting is most effective when the audience forgets about it completely. But "Black Comedy" – being performed at McPherson College Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27 – proves a significant exception.

"The show is reverse-lit," said Jd. Bowman, associate professor of theatre and director of the comedy. "Meaning that when the stage lights are on, the characters in the play are in the dark, but when the stage lights are off, the characters in the play can see just fine."

This means that the audience gets to see all of the hijinks that happen under cover of darkness to the characters. The one-act comedy by Peter Shaffer begins with darkened stage lights, but soon after the play starts, there's a blackout – allowing the audience to see a fully lighted stage while the characters are plunged into darkness.

The plot follows a young sculptor in England and his fiancée, who steal antiques and furniture from a neighbor to impress a prominent art collector. Unexpected guests arrive following the blackout, leading to a series of misunderstandings and blunders.

Bowman said he was excited about not only the entertaining show, but also a unique aspect of the casting – this is the first time in Bowman's eight-year career at McPherson College that a show consists entirely of performing arts majors.

"This shows our recent growth," Bowman said. "It is very exciting to me to work with performers who all will continue to push each other to new levels."

All shows start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to all shows cost $5 for adults and $3.50 for children ages high school and younger as well as seniors. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at

Crew for "Black Comedy" is: Bowman, director; Dr. Rick Tyler, professor of speech and theatre, technical director; Kenyatta Harden, junior, McPherson, Kan., stage manager; Sarah Schowengerdt, junior, McPherson, Kan., set design, sculptures and costume design; Jacob B. Locke, junior, Wichita, Kan., costume chief, set design and costume design; Grahm Mahanna, senior, Hoxie, Kan., set crew; Justin Biegger, junior, Fuquay Varina, N.C., set crew; Zach Winkle, junior, Goddard, Kan., set crew; Kristie Gutierrez, junior, Quinter, Kan., set crew; Cassandra Baker, freshman, Wichita, Kan., costume crew; E.H. Petropulos, junior, Larkspur, Colo., costume crew; Ethan Quinn, junior, McPherson, Kan., light design and crew; Langston Rhynes, junior, Garland, Texas, sound design and crew; Joshua Hall, freshman, Kansas City, Kan., prop master; Jacob Patrick, junior, Elizabeth, Colo., meal planning and preparation; and Haleigh Orand, freshman, Wichita, Kan., box office.

The cast is: Justin Biegger, junior, Fuquay Varina, N.C.; Jacee Coberly, senior, Gove, Kan.; Sarah Schowengerdt, junior, McPherson, Kan.; Zach Winkle, junior, Goddard, Kan.; Grahm Mahanna, senior, Hoxie, Kan.; E.H. Petropulos, junior, Larkspur, Colo.; James Covel, freshman, Goddard, Kan.; and Isaac Levin, senior, Dighton, Kan.

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