OBU alumni and professional playwright visits students

Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor

OBU alumni and professional playwright, Chris Cragin-Day visited Oklahoma Baptist University to host a workshop Monday, Nov. 20, at 4:00 p.m.

Her play “Martin Luther on Trial” was performed in Tulsa Nov. 19 as part of a national tour, and a group of OBU theatre students attended the performance.

“She is an OBU alumn, and she is a professional playwright in New York; she works for King’s College which is a Christian university in Manhattan,” director of theatre and assistant professor of theatre Matthew Caron said.

“She’s had a success; she is a successful playwright, she’s had several of her plays produced off-broadway and she currently, she’s got one coming to Tulsa in the end of this month and then she has another one that’s going to be in Oklahoma City at the end of this month also. So she has two different plays that are on tour right now.”

Cragin-Day’s latest work is about Martin Luther and his ideologies.

According to her web page, “Commissioned by and developed with Max McLean, this six-actor play presents a re-trial of Martin Luther’s soul with the Devil standing as prosecution, Katie Luther standing as defense and Saint Peter presiding as judge. Witnesses include Adolf Hitler, MLK, Freud and Pope Francis, among others. As the witnesses speak to the impact of Luther’s life, the play transitions between the trial and glimpses of the events that shaped him.”

The day after the students attended the performance of “Martin Luther on Trial,” they had the opportunity to hear Cragin-Day share some of what she has learned through her experiences as a professional, Christian playwright.

“She’s going to share her expertise with our theatre people – with anyone who wants to come, really,” Caron said.

The opportunity to learn from more experienced Christian artists is valuable to students.

“Theatre is a tricky field; it’s just a tricky field to be in just in general,” Caron said.

“It’s hard to get jobs, and it’s hard to make a living – especially as performers, but just in general, it’s a tough thing to break into. And it’s even more complicated with being Christian because the art form, as with most art forms, tends to feed a liberal agenda [which is] generally more progressive minded rather than conservative minded – the art form itself,” he said.

“And so I think it’s really important to have our students connect with successful theatre artists, successful Christian theatre artists in the field, as they start to think about what they want to do with their lives, as they think about life beyond OBU, and life after graduation.”

Getting to hear Cragin-Day share what she has learned offers students a little help with facing these challenges, and this visit also served as a reminder that these challenges can be overcome.

“Having a success story like Chris Cragin-Day, come back and share her experience and share how she did it, I think, can be really inspiring for students,” Caron said.

“And then also give them practical advice as to what’s next for them, and how to approach a career in theatre as a Christian theatre artist.”

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