BETHANY, W.Va. — The Bethany College Theatre will present “The Increased Difficulty of Concentration,” a play written by former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel. Performances will be held November 10-12 at 8 p.m. and November 13 at 2 p.m. in Wailes Theatre.
Linear storytelling is abandoned in this absurdist door-slamming farce. Set in 1928, a social scientist, Huml, is recovering from a breakdown, trying to dictate a treatise on happiness, break up with his mistress, and divorce his wife (or is it the other way around?) — all while enduring an intrusion by a team of researchers with a piece of technology called Puzuk. Puzuk is an early version of a computer with a logarithm that attempts to analyze the randomness of human beings. As it begins to function, it more than analyzes as it escalates the randomness.
Written in the 1960s, the play was originally known as a commentary on communist repression. The 1990s revised version explores the effects of technology.
Havel, a Czech playwright, dissident and politician, was the 10th and final president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic. He has written more than 20 plays and is the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the freedom medal of the Four Freedoms Award and the Ambassador of Conscience Award.
Dr. Eduard Huml (a social scientist), played by Rich Oliver, junior theatre major from Chester, W.Va.
Vlasta Huml (his wife), played by Kirstie Pomilio, senior double major in art and psychology from Elizabeth, Pa.
Renata (his mistress), played by Sasha Lash, freshman double major in creative writing and visual art from Moundsville, W.Va.
Blanka (his secretary), played by Emily Miner, freshman English major from Ridgely, W.Va.
Dr. Anna Balcar (a social scientist), played by Carol Smith, freshman theatre major from Martins Ferry, Ohio
Karel Kriebel (a technician), played by Derrick Tolliver, sophomore theatre major from Bellaire, Ohio
Emil Marchal (a surveyor), played by Evan Oslund, master of arts in teaching student from Oakmont, Pa.
Mr. Beck (supervisor), played by Joey Albus, senior theatre major from Beallsville, Ohio
Voice of Puzuk/sound, Rob Christiansen, senior history major from Marysville, Wash.
Assistant Director/Understudy for females, Jocelyn Nelson, freshman from Avonmore, Pa.
Assistant Director/Understudy for males, Andrew Ferguson, junior theatre major from Brilliant, Ohio
Stage Manager, senior theatre and English major Pat McGregor from Westerville, Ohio
Technical Director and Designer, Tracie Lynn Duncan, Associate Professor of Theatre and Director of Technical Theatre
Director, Luke Hardt, Associate Professor of Theatre, Director of the Bethany College Theatre, and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Babysitting by the Bison Cheerleaders will be available at Bethany Memorial Church from 1:30-4 p.m. for the Sunday afternoon performance. The cost is $5/child, and reservations are required. Call 304.829.7124.
A food drive for the Wheeling Soup Kitchen will be held for each performance. Please bring non-perishables and gently used clothing for collection at the play.
Admission donations will be accepted at the door.
The play is being produced with permission from Samuel French Inc., and parents are advised that it includes adult content.
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.