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K-State Today

November 10, 2021

K-State Theatre premieres two new short plays Nov. 11-14 at Purple Masque Theatre

Submitted by Jerry Jay Cranford


Thursday evening, Nov. 11, through Sunday afternoon Nov. 14, at the Purple Masque Theatre in West Memorial Stadium, K-State Theatre premieres two new one-act plays written by drama therapy graduate students Conrad Schmechel and Jared Adams. Both pieces focus on elements of mental health developed through research, interviews and lived experiences.

"Illusions of Hope and Despair" is an autobiographical ethnodrama based on interviews the playwright, Adams, had with his family. This play attempts to capture the complexity and complications of a family trying its best to support a member with acute Schizophrenia and aims to be a psychoeducational art piece showing the humanity in a disease that is so often seen one-dimensionally. Director Schmechel feels that the piece can "help spread awareness of these diagnoses, but can also plant seeds of inspiration, courage and deepened empathy."

"The Ups and Downs of Tom" by Schmechel is the story of an individual's experiences living with bipolar disorder, based on interviews with real people with bipolar disorder and their significant others/close confidants. This disorder is often stigmatized and tied to misinformation, stoking fear of those living with it. This play strives to shine a light on bipolar disorder while also giving a voice to those living with and those who know someone with bipolar disorder.

K-State Theatre's Second Stage season in the Purple Masque is student-driven allowing us to feature both new and published works with student designers and directors.

"I was a little nervous when selected to direct this show, but it has been so beneficial for me," said senior theatre major Karly Breshears. "I have loved working with the cast and crew on this piece and have gained so much knowledge about theatre throughout this process."

It is an important part of preparing students for a professional career. We're thankful to return to live performances and to feature the work of the students. Join us this weekend for four performances only. More information can be found on the K-State Theatre webpage.