Play utilizes unusual campus space as stage at WKU

Michael McKay

The rock alleyway between Helm and Cravens libraries will house more than just an air conditioner for the next three nights.

The performance, Night Raid, starts tonight in the alleyway.

Taylorsville senior Joel Fickel, who goes by the stage name Joel Sena, said most people looking to stage theater only consider traditional spaces.

“Nobody is asking to do anything in the alleyway,” Sena said.

Sena said he received a lot of confusion from administrators when he asked for permission to stage the performance in the space.

“It was hard for them to know what to say to me, to give me permission, because nothing like that had ever been asked,” Sena said.

Sena said he thinks the setting will add something to Night Raid that other spaces can’t.

“Its hardly ever trafficked and hardly ever noticed,” he said. “Its so cave-like and it gives a mood that nowhere else on campus does.”

Night Raid is also something that had never been done before.

Sena combined the one act play “Night” by 20th century American poet James Oppenheim with other poets and philosophers to create an original interpretation. Night Raid incorporates video and artwork in addition to theater.

“It’s not just a play,” Sena said. “It’s a prayer, it’s a mediation, and it’s a protest.”

Sena said the themes of Night Raid will resonate with WKU students.

“It’s looking at the consequences of collateral damage and trying to put a human face on collateral damage so that it goes beyond just statistics in a newspaper,” Sena said.

Owensboro junior Jessica Basham, a performer in Night Raid, said she hoped the content of the performance would have an impact on the audience.

“It is something that will make you stop and think,” said Basham. “It’s really something that you are like ‘Oh wow, I really need to consider these things.’”

Louisville senior Max Newland, another actor in the performance, said Night Raid is more relevant as the Occupy Wall Street protests grow across the country.

“There couldn’t be a more perfect time for something like this to happen,” Newland said.

Night Raid will be performed at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is free to attend but space is limited to as many people as can comfortably fit in the alleyway.