Bethany College Theatre to Present Sci-Fi Original

BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College will soon debut the world premiere of “Naked Emperors,” a sci-fi play written by the College’s Director of Theatre, Luke Hardt. Hardt, who is also an Associate Professor of Theatre will also direct the performance. 

The play will take place Sept. 24-27 and while admission is free, donations are encouraged.

The play is set in the future, when technology has become such an integral part of society that it has taken the place of creativity and original thought.

Hardt began writing the play years ago, when the Internet began to transform society. Technology was changing the way people communicate and live their lives. Instead of face-to-face communication, it has become much more convenient to reach out to others via email, texting or social media.

“I noticed that everyone is getting locked down into their own worlds by trying to connect with the universe,” he said. “We’re going to isolate further from each other, even though we have this vast illusion that we are connecting with each other.  As a lover of live theatre, I saw this trend as a threat.  So, I wrote this play to dramatize the trade-off that happens when we substitute technology for more authentically human communication.”

In the futuristic world of “Naked Emperors,” creativity has been replaced with regurgitation. Instead of coming up with original ideas, contestants perform fragments of famous works they have injected from a database. A poor performance could mean death in this celebrity-through-technology-obsessed culture.

Klik (Mike Lyons, Beaver Falls, Pa.) and Lipitz (Max Hardt, Bethany, W.Va.) host the contest, in which performers Jesus (Taylor Ferko, Munhall, Pa.), Liam (Anthony Willoughby, Dublin, Ohio), Lapidus (Elias Stebbins, Washington, Pa.) and Sym (Jess Donato, Cranberry, Pa.) take the stage to carry out a life-or-death performance. But one entertainer is secretly playing the game by his own rules.

Additional cast members include Leah Roman of Weirton, W.Va. and Kirstin Smith Martins Ferry, Ohio. Jamie Holland (Danville, Ohio), is the stage manager.

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.