Professors play performed in Chicago this month

Julia Baxter, Staff Writer

Wayne State College Assistant Professor Jeanne Tiehen’s play “Anniversary” was selected and performed in the Otherworld Theater in Chicago as a part of their Paragon Theatre Festival amongst 40 other plays on Nov. 17 and 18.

The play is about a couple, Peter (performed by Christopher Mueller) and Laney (performed by Jean Burr), who are celebrating their three year anniversary, only to be interrupted by Laney from five years in the future asking about why they broke up shortly after this very anniversary.

“To get to sit in the audience and hear the laughs over certain lines and feel the lulls where I need to trim the play was very informative,” Teihen said. “In the end, it was a fun and encouraging experience that I hope to have more of in the future. I received positive feedback from the festival organizers, the director and performers, and audience members, so it was just fun to share my work and get to talk about it after.”

The Otherworld Theater in Chicago is focused on science fiction and fantasy plays and every year they showcase 40 plays selected out of 200 to 300 submissions over this two day festival. Most of the plays last about 10 to 15 minutes, while Tiehen’s was about an hour.

“Inspiration-wise, the play was an idea I had years ago after a bad break up, and a friend said, ‘Isn’t it too bad you can’t go back in time and have another day together,’” Tiehen said. “This idea stuck with me, and then as I did my research on time theory for my dissertation, I found more time-centric/time travel ideas to use in the play. I think anyone who has had their heart broken or just been in love would relate to the idea in the play.”

Tiehen has done a lot of work with theater in her time here at WSC, including directing the play Frankenstein this semester. As far as her experience in the world of theatre goes, this was something completely new, but she had a lot of fun with this experience.

“Being a playwright was really different for me. Most of my theatre career has been as an actor and a director,” Tiehen said. “While I’ve done devised theatre, I’ve never written something and then let other people stage it. It was nerve wracking to not be involved in those levels of creation, but the director and performers did a great job.”

“Anniversary” was directed and performed by three Chicago theatre professionals with the Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre.