Student writes, directs, produces one-act play
February 13, 2010

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"The Complete Books of Charles, or Have You Seen the Place" is an absurdist one-act play written, directed, and produced by Bryan senior Justin Winters. "It is a philosophical show delving into the question of existence," Winters explained.

Justin Winters (on right) during a rehearsal in Brock Hall
The play was initially written last year for an assignment in his Christian readings class where they explored literary works, including Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek."

"The readings asked the question 'if the world is vicious and beautiful, how does it reflect the image of God?'" Winters said. "A series of images from those readings stayed in my mind and a month and a half later I was working on the first draft of the play."

Although Winters originally thought his script would never see the light of day, he received approval from theatre Director Bernie Belisle to produce the play and held auditions last semester. The cast features eight students, ranging from freshman to senior, and a Bryan alum. "I wrote the play but everyone in the cast is a creator. I made the skeleton and they breathed life into it," Winters said.

Junior Joseph Maughon will be performing in the show and says of the play, "We are all fallen and imperfect humans, and we are all insane, all suffering from our own miniature cases of schizophrenia and confused by our painfully sharp self awareness. The question the play leaves with me is, 'Is there hope?'"

Jonathan Goff leads prayer for the cast
before the start of one of their rehearsals
Winters hopes that the play will help the audience be more willing to explore thought and art and that they will "walk away from the experience not with better answers but with better questions." He also hopes that the genre of his piece will broaden the horizons of his audience.

The entire process from writing to acting to set production is completely student led.

"The Complete Books of Charles, or Have You Seen the Place" will be presented in Brock Hall on Friday, Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Feb. 20, 3:30 p.m.  and 7:30 p.m. The play runs about 30 minutes with complimentary refreshments served during a Q&A with the cast and crew immediately following. Tickets are $2 at the door. Proceeds will go to the Rachel Morgan Patron Scholarship fund given each year to a deserving returning theatre student.