By Thomas O Kelley
The world premiere of 7 Minutes to Midnight, an original and experimental BCC play, is scheduled to open on November 14 in the Stop Gap Theatre. Dramatist Dennis Schebetta is creating the play in a collaborative fashion with the student cast. Somewhat surprisingly, the Science Department is also part of the production formula: dramatist (D) + actors (A) + scientists (S) = dynamite.
In an interview with the Jibsheet, Schebetta provides some insights into this work in progress.Jibsheet: How does 7 Minutes to Midnight differ from the plays Bellevue College usually produces?
D.S.: Most of the plays BCC has done are either well regarded classics or important contemporary plays by modern writers. They’ve done Chekhov, or Wilde, or Sondheim musicals in addition to newer works like Steven Dietz. They have a track record, not necessarily at BCC, but nationally or internationally. In a way, they’ve been “road tested.” In a new play, whether it is a traditional process or more alternative, that luxury of the road test is not there.
Jibsheet: You’ve written plays in the past such as Obscura and Burning Botticelli. They were developed in a traditional way. What was that like?
D.S.: The process is like handing off a baton in a relay race. It starts with a playwright who plans and writes everything down, usually alone. Eventually there is only so much work you can do by yourself and it’s ready for production, even though it may need some amount of rewrites. Generally you go into the first rehearsal with a solid script that has been worked out ahead of time… story, characters, dialogue all in good shape. In this kind of traditional process, the text is usually the primary element, although not always. Other aspects like sound, image and
movement become secondary.
Jibsheet: What about more experimental approaches?
D.S.: With alternative methods of theater-making, of which there are several terms