By BECCA KRAYBILL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Goshen College Theater Department will present Jim Leonard, Jr.’s award-winning play “The Diviners” for the spring mainstage production Friday, Saturday and April 12 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday and April 14 (ASL interpreted) at 3 p.m. in Goshen College’s Umble Center. Tamara Izlar, assistant professor of theater, is the director and Doug Liechty Caskey, professor of theater, is the producer.
Set in the fictional southern Indiana town of Zion during the Great Depression, the play features Buddy Layman, a disturbed young man who is deathly afraid of water after almost drowning when he was young and losing his mother in the same accident. Nonetheless, Buddy, played by senior Sammy Rosario (San Juan, Puerto Rico), has an uncanny gift for finding water, or “divining.” When a disenchanted preacher named C.C., played by junior Joel Kawira (Shirati, Tanzania), comes to town, the two form a special friendship. But their friendship ends when a sacred event turns tragic.
“‘The Diviners’ play brings into focus our dependence on water, both as a natural and spiritual resource, ranging from a farmer’s need for rain and a continuous water supply to a religious community’s need for water to baptize believers,” said Liechty Caskey.
Leonard wrote “The Diviners” in 1980 as a 19-year-old college student and is now an established playwright. It was the winning play at the American College Theater Festival. In 1989, the play was produced at Goshen College under the direction of former theater professor Lauren Friesen.
“A number of people who saw a 1989 performance still remember the powerful emotional impact the play had on them, and they’ve expressed an eagerness to see our 2013 version of the play under Tamera Izlar’s direction,” Liechty Caskey said.
The timing of the play and connections to current realities also makes it particularly relevant for audiences today, according to Liechty Caskey.
“In a year when natural disasters continue to impact us amid our dependence on rain and clean water for daily living, we realize even more how we need to cooperate as a society in both resource management and to communicate clearly our spiritual and physical needs,” he said. “If we’re paying attention, we’re constantly reminded of our interdependence with each other and with God.”
Supporting actors include senior Vanessa Jones (Dolton, S.D.), sophomore Angel Reyes (Leesburg), sophomore Rhianna Cockrell (Rileyville, Va.), sophomore Melanie Hertzler (Goshen), freshman Adrienne Schmucker (Wauseon, Ohio), freshman Martin Flowers (Nappanee), senior Gwen Stephan (Goshen), junior Isaac Hernandez (Goshen) and freshman Paul Zehr (Carthage, N.Y.).
The crew includes Andrew Moeggenborg, technical director; Angie Troyer, stage manager; Jay Mast, light designer; Natasha Weisenbeck, costume designer and manager; Patrick Ressler, sound designer; Jenna Lee, props designer; Clare Maxwell, hair and make-up; Paul Meier, dialect coach; Blake Shetler and Miranda Earnhart; assistant stage managers; Alan Smith, master carpenter; Gwen Stephan, master electrician; Ben Ganger, light board operator; Robert Lerch, sound board operator; Rebekah Lintz and Stacy Wyse, interpreters; Sandy Slabaugh, production assistant; and Brandi Brubaker, house manager.
Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens, and can be purchased in advance through the Welcome Center by calling 574-535-7566, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.goshen.edu/tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at the Umble Center Box Office one hour before the show.