Tuesday, December 30, 2008

College's fall mainstage play selected for full performance at competition


GOSHEN, Ind. – The fall 2008 mainstage production of "The Saint Plays" at Goshen College has been selected for inclusion in the American College Theater Festival, Region III, in Saginaw, Mich., Jan. 6-11, 2009.

This is the first time the college has entered a production as a "participating" entry in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), meaning that the fully mounted production – including the set, lights, props, costumes, makeup, etc. – will be performed in the competition. "The Saint Plays," by Erik Ehn and directed by assistant professor of theater Michelle Milne, will be performed at the festival twice on Friday, Jan. 9.

"This is a huge honor, and places Saint Plays among the top college and university productions in the country," said Milne.

"The Saint Plays" are a series of six short plays that link saints from the past with ordinary people. Exploring the connectedness between historical saints, contemporary life, earthly existence, spirit and eternity, "The Saint Plays" are about Joan of Arc, John the Baptist, St. Eulalia and St. George who fought a dragon. In addition, Ehn wrote a special piece about St. Rose of Viterbo, one of the two saints that mark former Goshen College student Deanne Binde's birthdate.

Binde, a junior Roman Catholic student, touched the lives of many people on campus during her years as a communication and theater major. After her death in a car crash in May 2008, Milne, who had taught and directed Binde, decided to stage "The Saint Plays," by Ehn, a Catholic award-winning, internationally-renowned playwright who has previously explored theatrical responses to the genocide in Rwanda and works to promote peace building through the arts.

Though Ehn, dean of the theater program at the California Institute of the Arts, did not know Binde and hadn't written a play about the saint connected with Binde's birthdate, he quickly offered to write a piece about Rose of Viterbo and Binde's life when Milne contacted him. In the play, Ehn included stories about Binde and quotes by her.

"I find it deeply meaningful that a play honoring the spirit of Deanne continues to live on in this way, and I am so happy that the students have an opportunity to share their work with a larger, regional audience," said Milne. "This was a challenging but rewarding process, and being selected for the festival reaffirms the value of all the hard work they put in over the past semester."

There were 41 participating productions for the ACTF Region III, and eight were chosen to be performed. The other schools are: Oakland University, Purdue University, University of Indianapolis, University of Michigan-Flint, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Western Illinois University.

"As a department, we have long felt that we have the quality of work to offer to our region, but it took extra urging to push us to the next level of competing," said Doug Liechty Caskey, professor of theater and department chair. "We've been holding back because of the relatively small budget and personnel that we have to work with."

Goshen College student actors have also received individual nominations for their acting or design in several of the recent productions.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college's Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron's Best Buys in Education, "Colleges of Distinction," "Making a Difference College Guide" and U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" edition, which named Goshen a "least debt college." Visit

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Goshen College
1700 S Main St
Goshen, Indiana 46526
phone: +1 (574) 535-7569
fax: 535-7660