John Proctor is the Villain, a new play by Kimberly Belflower that premiered at Centre College in November 2018, is enjoying wide acclaim across the nation. Centre students and faculty were directly involved in the evolution of the play as part of The Farm Theatre College Collaboration Project.
The play recently received a standing ovation at the Ojai Playwrights Conference’s New Works Festival, where over 500 were plays submitted for consideration and only eight were selected to participate. This achievement was followed by an article in the Los Angeles Times, written by Mary McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize winner who happened to be in the audience. The play was also included on the Kilroys List—a prominent list of the best non- and under-produced plays by women and non-binary playwrights.
The Centre Dramatic Arts program has been a part of The Farm Theatre project since 2014, providing students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with a professional theater company. Three schools commission an early career playwright and agree to independently produce the play during the academic year. The other participating schools are Furman University and Rollins College, with Centre presenting the first production of the cycle. The faculty, students and playwright collaborate throughout the year to develop the script.
The initial workshop on the first draft of John Proctor is the Villain was held over the summer of 2018 in New York City, where Diana Smith ’20, Katherine Moeykens ’19 and Brennen Amonett ’19 were in attendance. Sullivan Blackburn ’20 and Olivia Wilkinson ’21 attended the final performance of the most recent draft in New York City. Blackburn reprised her role as “Raelynn,” and Wilkinson, who stage managed the production, performed as “Stage Directions” in the reading.
Centre is set to begin its next Farm Theatre Collaboration Project in January 2020.
by Asia L. Peach
September 10, 2019