BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College Theatre Department will kick off a yearlong play reading series with Joseph Kesselring’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” on Sept. 12.

All events are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sundays in Renner Too, the basement of Phillips Hall.

Evan Oslund, adjunct professor of theatre, said the series is designed to be performed in a casual setting and features a blend of play types with casts of between four and 17 characters.

“I wanted something for everyone,” Oslund said. “It’s a group of avant-garde, classical, and contemporary.”

“Arsenic and Old Lace,” for instance, centers on the Brewster family, which includes two spinster aunts who murder lonely old men. Kesselring’s dark comedy is perhaps best known for the 1944 film adaptation starring Cary Grant and directed by Frank Capra.

The play reading series is held in tandem with Oslund’s Introduction to Theatre course, but participation is open to the community as well. His goal is to showcase a designated special guest for each reading.

“The goal is to get as many people involved as possible,” Oslund said. “The demand for theater is at a high on campus.”

He said he’d like to see Bethany become a destination for theater enthusiasts from Wheeling and across the region.

Anyone who would like to be part of the series should email Oslund at by the Wednesday before the selected reading.

The scheduled plays are:

  • “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza on Sept. 26.
  • “The Revolutionists” by Lauren Gunderson on Oct. 10.
  • “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller on Oct. 24.
  • “Life Sucks” by Aaron Posner on Nov. 7.
  • “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl on Dec. 5.
  • “Becky Shaw” by Gina Gionfriddo on Jan. 30.
  • “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen on Feb. 13.
  • “Bug” by Tracy Letts on March 20.
  • “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett on April 10.
  • “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov on April 24.

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.