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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: UWGB theater professor’s play gains momentum in Texas

Critic At Large

Thomas Campbell and play logo.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The ball got rolling recently for a play by Thomas Campbell, Ph.d, of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance faculty.

The first public staged readings for Campbell’s full-length drama, “Faithfall,” were held at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

According to a news release: “Faithfall” will be given its world premiere at UWGB later this school year when UWGB students mount a recorded production.

The three staged readings in Texas were streamed online with no live audience in attendance.

The UWGB production also will be streamed.
The staged readings in were part of the “New Play Development Series” at Texas A&M-Commerce.

Staged readings are common as a way for playwrights and producing entities to get a feel for the dynamics of a new play. Often, adjustments to scripts are made from them.

Campbell is the Sheboygan campus of UWGB. Playwrighting is his specialty.

One of his plays, “One Step Up,” premiered on the Sheboygan campus in 2017 with him performing. He wrote the play while a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern Illinois in Carbondale.

A synopsis of “Faithfall” from publicity material:

Sister Catherine is dead – the body of the young nun washed up on shore, an apparent victim of suicide. In a single, continuous scene, Sister Catherine’s estranged sister, Whitney, waits to claim the personal items bequeathed to the family. She is met by Father Michael, the priest who works with the late Sister Catherine.

While these strangers navigate each other, the audience learns of Sister Catherine’s dark past and her actions that drove a wedge between her and Whitney.

Whitney’s exposure of Gwen’s past leads Michael to protect the person he had come to know, exposing his own vulnerabilities.

What starts as a simple request turns into a deep debate about forgiveness, grief, faith and the status of Sister Catherine’s soul.

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