By Luke Hertzler – Horizon News & Features Editor
Hesston College presented the “Pen to Paper to Performance” playwriting festival April 27-28. The event featured eight community members’ writing: “Born Again” by Carol Duerksen, “First Date” by Travis Duerksen and Mitchell Stutzman, “Goodnight, Washington” by Patricia Middleton, “Small Cups of Coffee” by Dave Osborne, “Classified” by Lois Thieszen Preheim, “An Empty Classroom” by Jamie Rhodes, “How the Octopus Got His Legs” by Andre Swartley, and “Chapter Fourteen” by Caitlin Waits.
Performing works written by community members is a unique experience because it’s a chance to present a person’s dreams. It takes a lot of bravery and trust, however, for the playwrights to give up their words and visions to a cast of college students. These plays range in genres from comedies to thrillers, covering topics related to social justice, religious conversations, even how a first date should go. Inspiration comes to the authors from many places such as real life experiences, world news, and personal battles or struggles. The pairing of eight completely different plays shows off the diversity of the community and provides a safe place to process the meanings the plays have for us.