Theater veterans present plays as capstone projects

By: Joshua Robles, A&E Editor

Twin brothers and Newman theater department mainstays Austin and Brenden Schwartz are about to graduate but not before they put on an evening of drama that will help them complete their honors thesis and capstone projects.

The brothers, who have appeared in many plays and musicals at Newman during their time in college, will put on an event both tonight and Friday that features plans they’ve written and/or directed.

The evening will begin at 7 p.m. both nights in the Jabara Black Box Theatre. Austin Schwartz will be up first and will offer with a play he wrote and will direct called “Midwestern Vampire.” The play, a comedy, is broken up into two parts with an interlude in between. Part one is about the vampire getting used to and being accepted into Midwestern culture. In part two, the vampire teams up with a gunslinger to overcome a new challenge.

The interlude in between is named “We’re All Rockstars,” which was also written and directed by Austin. It is about a group of vampires creating a rock band.

Lucas Farney, tech director for theater the department, will star in the play and the interlude. Daniel Knolla will play the gunslinger.

Austin said the play began as an assignment for one of his classes, but he eventually added a part two.

“I wanted to further explore and play with the two main characters I created in the first one and show more of their dynamic, leaning more into the humor and the classic tropes and then bring in new elements and new characters of their own,” Austin said.

Brenden’s plays will start right after his brother’s at around 7:45 p.m. He’ll first present a comedy about a man proposing to the daughter of a Russian family in the 19th century. The play, titled “A Marriage Proposal,” was written by Anton Chekhov and will be directed by Brenden.

The short play, which has a cast of three, features junior John Suffield in the lead role of  Lomov. Another of the characters will be played by theatre director Mark Mannette’s son, Ruel Mannette, an adjunct professor of philosophy at Newman.

Brenden said he’s always wanted to take a play and put his own spin on it.

“I just wanted the challenge of taking someone else’s vision and then pairing it with my own rather than taking something of my own vision and making it real,” Brenden said.

After 15 minute intermission, Brenden will then present a play titled “Hibema” that he wrote and will direct. It has a cast of nine.

The play is a drama and tragedy about choosing between the greater of two goods and facing the consequences of one's decisions. The cast will include senior Austin Schwartz as the lead character Belezar Longstone as well as Wichita State University student Katie Stanford playing Anguin Dominar and senior Allison Williams playing Rosalynn Longstone.

Brenden said he originally wrote this play as a scene for an assignment, but it blossomed into a full play.

“The feeling I get seeing what I created come to life is an amazing feeling,” Brenden said. “The actors do such a good job portraying the characters I created, and I get chills just watching them.”

Admission to the event is free.

PHOTO: Brenden Schwartz, Staff Writer