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American College Theatre Festival Honors Short Plays Written by St. Norbert College Students

From St. Norbert College, February 6, 2015
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, 920-403-3089

Two short plays written by St. Norbert College students were honored as finalists in the National Playwriting Program at the Region III conference of the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, which took place Jan. 7-11 in Milwaukee. In addition to being the highest recognition a student-written play can receive at the regional festival, being named a finalist gives a play the chance to move on to the festival's national conference.

Six ten-minute plays and six one-act plays were presented as staged readings at the festival. Two plays were chosen as finalists in each category. These included a ten-minute play called "Life Experience" by St. Norbert College student Erich Wegenke (Sun Prairie, Wis.), and a one-act play entitled "Ghosting With Steve and Marta" by St. Norbert College student Clara Wendland (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.).

Wendland's one-act play, "Ghosting With Steve and Marta," takes a light-hearted look at a pair of bickering ghost hunters in search of the paranormal. It has previously been performed onstage at St. Norbert College as part of the theatre department's Fall 2014 production, a collection of four short plays called "Ghost Stories." "Life Experience," the ten-minute play by Wegenke, tells the story of a recent college graduate trying to get a job at a marketing firm, who invents increasingly exaggerated stories about his qualifications to impress the person interviewing him.

By the end of February, all eight regional divisions of the American College Theatre Festival will have taken place, and sixteen student-written plays in each category will have been named finalists nationwide. Judges will choose about six plays per category to go to the national festival. The national conference of the American College Theatre Festival will take place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. the week of April 13.

Wegenke's and Wendland's plays were written during an informal playwriting workshop organized by St. Norbert College theatre professor April Beiswenger. The workshop met once a week over the course of the 2013-14 academic year.

For more information on the American College Theatre Festival and theatre studies at St. Norbert College, contact April Beiswenger at april.beiswenger@snc.edu.