Student New Works Program Notes
Written and directed by Ian Boyd-Duncan
STYX, ironically, is a story about life. It began its life in a MasterClass taught by prolific writer Neil Gaiman. The challenge was issued to take a widely told story like a myth or fairy tale and look at it with a new perspective. I felt pushed to write a story about hope and possibility in the wake of a global pandemic that plummeted the world into despair and limited possibility on a scale only seen a few other times in human history. I was drawn to the myths of the infamous Greek river of death and its soul-guiding ferryman Charon soon after. What if I could take these symbols and give them the perspective of life? What if the Styx was NOT the river of death, but the river of life? What if Charon had the opportunity to give guidance to a soul about life and not death? These two questions gave birth to the play you’ll soon be listening to. While this piece is inspired by the works of Neil Gaiman (as is only fair considering the class I was taking), STYX is also inspired by notable existential psychiatrist Irvin Yalom and his 4 givens of existence. Yalom believed there were four inherent and inescapable conflicts surrounding life that all humans must reconcile with. First, the awareness of our eventual demise and the wish to continue to be. Second, the struggles of freedom and responsibility as it pertains to carving our paths in life. Third, the awareness of our eventual permanent isolation and our urge to interact with others/participate as a part of a greater whole (the world). Lastly, the conflict brought about by humanity being meaning-seeking creatures placed into a seemingly meaningless universe. These struggles are rooted deep into the subconscious of every person, and have found their way into the vast majority of the stories humanity has told throughout history. As they are central struggles of life, the characters of STYX grapple with Yalom’s givens throughout the play. Lastly, I wanted the act of making STYX to be an act of creating life in and of itself. The production team of STYX was told from day 1 of rehearsals that they would be giving life to a brand new play, not unlike the Greek gods shaping the first humans out of clay. The play you are about to hear is the result of several individuals and groups navigating a river of script changes, rehearsals, technical difficulties, meetings, a still ongoing pandemic, and other waters to arrive at the finished project. Hopefully our little tale about life touches yours in a positive way, and blossoms hope in your Spring. Thank you for reading and listening, please enjoy STYX.
LaVonne Canfield, Stage Manager
Jenna Bickelhaupt (Narrator/Attendant) is a freshman major in theatre. She is so grateful to be a part of her second show at Kansas State. She would like to thank her family, friends, and everyone who worked on “Styx”. Thank you for listening to our podcast.
Dylan Foster (Ron) is a senior theater major at Kansas State University. His previous productions at K-State include One Dead, One Dying, Ho Ho No!, and Bright Ideas.
Rachel Kuenzi (Oakley) is a first-year undergraduate student pursuing a BA major in Theatre with an emphasis in performance and minoring in Musical Theatre. She previously graduated from Sabetha High School in 2020. Rachel’s past roles have included Clerk in Hello Dolly, Ruth in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Miss Hannigan in Annie, and Lorena Young in One Dead, One Dying. Rachel would like to thank the cast of Styx, her friends, and, most notably, her family for their constant love and support.
HATE THE PLAYER
Written and directed by Meghan McGehee
Stage Manager: Jillian Sommerauer
Lindsey Edwards (Stephanie) is so excited to be involved in Hate the Player. This is Lindsey's 3rd production with Kansas State Theatre. She has also been in Bright Ideas, Return to Abandoned, and Leave no Trace. She would like to thank everyone who worked on the production, her friends, and family for constant support.
Audrey Burgoon (Ava) is a sophomore studying theatre education and minoring in leadership with a nonprofit certificate. Audrey is from Salina, KS and is a member of the Tri Delta sorority. This is her second show at Kansas State, having played Denise in “Bright Ideas” last spring. She excited for theatre to be starting back up- in any form- and cannot wait for you to listen to this podcast!
Karly Breshears (Becca) is a junior, dual majoring in theatre and elementary education. She is so excited to have been a part of her four production at K-State. You may have previously seen her in 21st Century Carnival and our podcast version of Macbeth and Ho Ho No. She would like to thank her family, friends, the cast, and God for all their support! She hopes everyone enjoys listening to Hate the Player as much as she has enjoyed working on it with this awesome group of gals! Thank you so very much for supporting K-State Theatre!