Photo by: Dakota Baggett

Photo by: Dakota Baggett

Graham’s Grail hits high spots in dramatic reading

Dakota Baggett

dabaggett@txwes.edu

Sunday, Sept. 29, the Texas Wesleyan Theatre Department Playmarket preformed a concert reading of the play “Graham’s Grail” written by senior English major John Humphrey, a current student at Wesleyan and aspiring playwright.

Though the reading was not a full production, it drew some critical praise and was a success in Humphrey’s eyes at the free event.

The reading was performed by an all-volunteer cast of Wesleyan Theatre majors and directed by Connie Whitt-Lambert, a Professor of Theatre Arts. The readers included senior Theatre major Sara Blair (Stage Directions), senior Theatre major Seth Brech (Graham), sophomore Theatre major Logan Rodgers (Detective Andrew), sophomore Theatre major Tim Crabb (Father Ed), alumnus Theatre major Jeremy Jackson (Graham’s Father), freshman Theatre major Eric Nunez (Detective Staid/Medic 2), and freshman Theatre major Trey Cardona (David/Medic 1).

Playwright Humphrey expressed ample gratitude to Whitt-Lambert, all the cast and crew who performed voluntarily in this unique dramatic reading.

“Graham’s Grail” actually is the first installment in the Twisted Truth Trilogy written by Humphrey. This  play is a commentary on religion. The second play is “Shepherds and Sheep” and is a social commentary. The third play is “Swan Song. “

The actors remained stationary in front of the stage and read from the scripts to an audience, which took up about half the seats in the house Sept. 29. The audience responded well to the play, all the jokes were laughed at and the timing was almost perfect.

The play also had a balance of serious moments with debates about religion between Graham and Detective Andrew, timely breaks of sarcastic black humor, and a few moments which might make some cringe. The two lead roles had some emotional moments portrayed well  by the actors, and the play came to a close with a surprise ending .

The reading was followed by a brief Q & A session where Humphrey took the stage.

The purpose of the reading was to appear before a live audience for the first time, get the audience’s reactions and feedback to help Humphrey revise his first play and make it one step closer to being stage ready.

“There was an overwhelming feeling seeing something that I created come to life like that, “Humphrey continued.  ”I’m very happy with the performance and feedback and very grateful for all the actors and Connie giving me the opportunity to do something like that.”

Humphrey said that it took about 3-4 months to write and required extensive religious research to complete the first play in the new trilogy.

The reading went well.  The feedback was good. The writing and acting were excellent, and it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon for free.

The next Playmarket  Series will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m.