The cast of Traveler in the Dark: (l to r) Christy Stone, Corey Ruehling, Jon Van Pelt, and Aaron Clabough
Calvary University Theatre presented four performances of Traveler in the Dark last weekend. With only four characters in the cast, each one had many lines to learn, and they did a terrific job! Of course, there were many people who had a part behind the scenes, and they each contributed to the success of the show. Corey Ruehling played Dr. Sam Carter, the play’s titular “traveler in the dark.” The other characters were his wife, son, and father, and the play is all about their relationships. Mrs. Pat Miller, our Biblical Counseling Department Chair, had this to say about the show, “What I like most about this play is the title! We are all travelers in the dark without the Light of the World – Jesus. We often lose our way and stumble in the dark. Only in the truth of God will we ever be set free.”
The Carter family: (l to r) Everett, Sam, Glory, and Stephen
Ana Sharp, CU Theatre’s first student lighting designer, at the board during our technical rehearsals last weekend.
Cast and crew alike spent most of last Saturday perfecting and running lighting and sound cues in technical rehearsals for Traveler in the Dark.. It was our technicians’ time to rehearse, and we guarantee the fruit of their labor will create a unified artistic whole when you come to see this challenging production.The show opens this weekend, October 12-15, with a Thursday matinee show at 11:00 a.m., a Friday and Saturday show at 7:30 p.m., and a Sunday matinee at 2:00 p.m.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman creates the world of a brilliant surgeon suddenly shattered by the death of his nurse. Sam tries to find a way to piece his life back together as he journeys with his family back to his boyhood home for her funeral. Once there, he’s confronted by the demons of his youth: the death of his own mother, his alienation from his fiery, evangelical preacher-father, his boyhood immersion in fairy tales, and his disillusionment with the woman he married. A deep crisis ensues, and Sam’s relationships with his wife, young son, and father, as well as his own direction in life, swing precariously in the balance. In the rejection of the faith of his father, he has also lost access to its light, and he discovers his journey as a traveler in the dark renders life difficult to navigate.
Student designers took leadership as the set we’ve been working on since mid-August was moved into the Chapel last Saturday by the cast and crew of Traveler in the Dark. Designed by senior Theatre Arts major Christy Stone, the set includes the backyard garden of a country preacher’s home. This set is the second set designed by Ms. Stone, who is not only a talented artist, but a plays Glory Carter in the production, wife of world-famous surgeon Sam Carter, and the only female in the cast.
Converting the Chapel into a theatre isn’t the easiest task in the world, especially when you have to transplant a tree! The normally flat seating was reconstructed into a tiered configuration, specially-designed and painted flooring is installed, the set is assembled, and lighting is hung and focused. Ana Sharp, junior Theatre Arts major, is our very first student to take on the formidable task of lighting design. Also this weekend, Ana oversaw the hanging of the instruments and the beginning of the difficult process of focusing and programming the lighting.
Kaleb Krahn, CU Theatre’s Technical Director, lent his considerable expertise to the efforts. Saturday night was a late one, but there was much accomplished that you’ll have to see to believe. You won’t want to miss it!
Thursday, October 12 at 11:00 a.m.
Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Corey Ruehling as the lead character and world-famous surgeon, Sam Carter, and Aaron Clabough as his son, Stephen, rehearse a scene from “Traveler in the Dark.”
Calvary Theatre Arts is pleased to announce the beginning of some new traditions that continue with our current production of Traveler in the Dark by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Marsha Norman. Theatre offers powerful potential collaboration between the academic disciplines at Calvary, and one of the most challenging and interactive times this happens is during the Calvary Conversations that occur during our all-campus chapels. Traveler in the Dark is up for discussion during this Wednesday’s chapel on September 27.
The play revolves around an intense inter-generational crisis incited by the death of Sam’s surgical nurse. The conversation will begin with a seven-minute confrontational scene between Sam Carter (played by Corey Ruehling) and his preacher/father, Everett Carter (played by Jon Van Pelt). This will be followed by a conversation featuring Biblical Counseling chair Pat Miller and her colleague, Dr. Luther Smith. Also joining director Bobbie Jeffrey and her cast from Traveler in the Dark will be Tim Hange, Calvary’s missionary-in-residence from Moscow.
After having read the play, here’s what our conversation panelists had to say about the script:
“What I like most about this play is the title! We are all travelers in the dark without the Light of the World – Jesus. We often lose our way and stumble in the dark. Only in the truth of God will we ever be set free.” – Mrs. Pat Miller
“The title is appropriate for this particular play…I am convinced of the human experience and how this is the way some of us deal with death and loss. Death makes us powerless, it makes us helpless and vulnerable. It causes us to see that life is so short, and that we don not have any control over our lives….This is a fantastic play! There are many lessons to be gleaned from this play, and I advise anyone (especially Biblical counseling majors) to attend and see this play!” – Dr. Luther Smith
Traveler in the Dark hits upon a number of tough themes. Death, grief, loss are present, yes, but in the end I feel it is a battle between the cold world of cynical empiricism and the realm of faith, imperfectly expressed though it may be. At its deepest core is the battle with the concept of a God who allows death and suffering in the world, combined with the bitterness and cynicism that results when man desperately shakes his fist at the universe and attempts to be the captain of his own soul. We just aren’t designed for this. I’m looking forward to engaging in the discussions that result from this performance.” – Tim Hange
Of course we don’t want to leave our audience out of the interactive energy! There will be talk back sessions after every performance:
Thursday, 10/12 after our 11:00 a.m. matinee
Friday 10/13 and Saturday, 10/14 after our 7:30 p.m. performances
Sunday, 10/15 after our Sunday matinee at 2:00 p.m.
You see before you twenty-two hard-working Theatre Arts students and staff. Safely nested among them are the four cast members of Traveler in the Dark: Corey Ruehling as Sam Carter, world-famous surgeon; Christy Stone as Glory, his wife; Aaron Clabough as Stephen, Sam’s son, and Jon Van Pelt as Everett, a fiery, evangelical preacher and also Sam’s father. So why does it take more than eighteen people to pull off a play with only four characters? Every single one of Calvary Theatre’s majors has an integral role in support of this production. From stage management to set construction to costumes to sound to lighting to makeup to box office to concessions, we couldn’t do without any of them!
Some of the greatest opportunities theatre brings to its students are in the areas of leadership, teamwork, and collaboration. They’re innovators, designers, managers, and creators who implement the idea that theatre is service, to the text, to their fellow actors, to their audience, and to their Audience of One. And they have a great time doing it! Come see them serve a larger story during one of four performances of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman’s Traveler in the Dark: October 12 at 11:00 a.m., October 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and October 15 at 2:00 p.m. The location is Liberty Chapel on Calvary’s campus, 15790 Elmwood Avenue, Kansas City. Tickets are now on sale! https://www.calvary.edu/theatre-box-office/