The Bible Women’s Project, an original ENC production, will be performed in Cove Auditorium for three additional performances this weekend.
This last-minute decision was made in response to numerous requests from faculty, students, and even others outside the college. Director Tara Brooke Watkins had received ten emails by Sunday, with many commenting that they had heard the positive reviews and regretted not being able to attend on the original show days, Feb. 19, 20, and 21.
These emails, along with multiple encouraging “talk backs” with audience members after the performances, spurred Watkins to take these requests seriously.
After consulting with the cast and crew, BWP decided to extend the show’s running by adding three more performances to ensure that every student, faculty, and staff member had a chance to see it.
Watkins expressed that she had never seen an audience or community react with such intensity to a play, as people have reacted to BWP.
“It feels like God has swept up the play into the sky overhead and I’m doing my best to hang on to its flight,” Watkins commented.
She feels one of the big reasons people are reacting in this way is because the show handles and discusses some “taboo” topics, such as sexuality, the woman’s role, and critically examining the Bible.
An ongoing theme in the show is the concept of a “safe place.” Throughout the show, the actors describe this as a place where people can speak their honest thoughts, and no one will be judged. Actors in the show even created a hashtag, “#bwp_safeplace,” when talking about the show on social media.
Actress and senior Leah Anderson said the cast was not sure how audiences would react to the play, especially due to its free discussion of taboo topics.
“We were all just super worried about how people were going to react… so it was really great that so many people loved it,” Anderson expressed.
Actress and junior Kayla Rearick agreed and said the responses led the cast to believe that something more was stirring.
“After the talk back, we had such a crazy positive response. We were like, ‘This isn’t over, we have to keep doing this,'” Rearick said.
Naturally, there was some concern in scheduling three more performances just five days in advance, but the cast and crew were able to rearrange their schedules to make the additional performances possible.
“This is so much bigger than just me… it’s beyond me,” Rearick said in response to the additional time commitment, “My needs and the things that I need to get done will be put aside because this is so much more important.”
Watkins commented that the huge response from the ENC community has been both “humbling and scary.”
“This play was scary to write and scary to put up on stage. I was actually more prepared for the reaction to be negative, so this is just so beyond any expectations,” Watkins shared, “It tells me that faith is about doing what is scary if God has paved the way.”
Watkins feels she has done her part in creating the play, and now passes it on to the next phase. She hopes that people who have the power to change the campus and create “safe places” will do so and listen to what God calls them to do.
“What the next step is… I don’t know. What I can say is I’m praying for the bravery of whoever needs to take that next step,” Watkins concluded.
BWP will be showing Friday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. and 7 :30 p.m. in Cove Auditorium.