Bethany College Theatre to Present ‘Returns’

BETHANY, W.Va. - The Bethany College Theatre Department has announced the production of Joshua Casteel’s “Returns,” an autobiographical journey through Casteel’s experiences as an interrogator in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Five performances of the play are scheduled for April 1, 3, 6 and 8 at 8 p.m. and April 5 at 2 p.m in Wailes Theatre on the College campus.

“Returns” is based on Casteel’s experiences after his 2004 deployment to Baghdad. The play gives audience members a view into the life of James, a young interrogator with the U.S. Army who returns from the Abu Ghraib prison only to be faced with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. Bethany College is among the first theaters to produce this raw and intimate portrayal of the violation of youth.

The cast includes freshman Theatre and English major Patrick McGregor of Westerville, Ohio, as James; sophomore Cultural Studies major Gerad Cervenak of Follansbee, W.Va., as Jonathan; freshman Theatre major Zachary Adams of Norton, Ohio, as Mark; freshman Theatre major Joey Albus of Beallsville, Ohio, as Sgt. Patrick; and junior Visual Arts major Shane Buydasz of Canonsburg, Pa., as Ahmed/Dhahur.

The play will be directed by senior Theatre major Megan Leigh Valentino as her senior project. Valentino is the daughter of Cherylynn and Lawrence Valentino of Beloit, Ohio.

Sophomore Theatre major Evan Oslund of Oakmont, Pa., will serve as Assistant Director. Tracie Lynn Duncan, Bethany Theatre Technical Director, will provide set and costume design. Lighting design will be provided by sophomore Technical Theatre major Devon Farris of Midland, Pa. Freshman History and English major Rob Christiansen of Seattle, Wa., will oversee sound design. Senior Project Advisor will be Luke Hardt, Director of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts.

Each night of the production, the lobby will be a collection point for Boatsie’s Boxes: Operation Beat the Heat. Patrons are invited to bring items such as body wash, powdered drink mixes, deodorant, Tylenol/Advil and sunblock SPF 50. To view a complete list of items needed the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, visit

Tickets are by donation only but reservations are strongly encouraged by calling (304) 829-7124. Due to the strong subject matter, “Returns” is not recommended for children under age 17. For inquiries, please contact the Box Office at (304) 829-7124.