TWU students shine in 'Without Rule of Law' a darkly comic coming-of-age story
“W.R.O.L. is about learning how to function in a world of uncertainty."
— Emma Selle, second year theatre major
How intriguing and spooky it is when a play mirrors reality.
“With the climate crisis, racial unrest, and a worldwide pandemic all shaping our lives, this story could not be more relevant,” said Angela Konrad, theatre professor and director of Trinity Western University’s current play—W.R.O.L. (Without Rule of Law), a darkly comic coming-of-age story and a surprisingly apt choice for this season.
Konrad directs for Vancouver's Pacific Theatre, and she is the founding artistic director of Vancouver’s Dark Glass Theatre.
“This play is absolutely perfect for such a time as this,” Konrad said.
Streaming Dec. 1–13, 2020, the play’s new COVID-friendly format lets audiences enjoy it from the comfort of their home. The opening show premieres Dec. 1 at 7:30pm and will include a behind-the-scenes featurette and Zoom talkback with the cast and directors.
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Written by Canadian playwright Michaela Jeffery, W.R.O.L.. first premiered in fall 2019. W.R.O.L. delights audiences with a tale about strength and survival—led by the imagination and grit of four female tweens.
Twelve-year-old Josephine makes apocalypse preparedness videos in her parents’ garage and posts them to YouTube. Vic takes Jujitsu. Maureen encrypts her text messages. Sarah stuffs her knapsack with survivalist handbooks and Tolkien novels, because “you don’t know where you’re going to be... when it happens... you might not be at home.”
Along the way, the girls find their voices in sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant ways, even when adult—and their friend Robbie—would rather dismiss them.
Rising actors shine in COVID-adapted theatre
“W.R.O.L. is about learning how to function in a world of uncertainty,” said Emma Selle, a second year theatre major who stars in the play as Maureen.
When it comes to acting in a play during COVID-19, Selle said, “First of all, it’s super cool to be part of a film—it’s a steep learning curve, but tons of fun.”
“The girls in this play are prepared for things most of us would never even consider a possibility, which is intriguingly timely for our current day-and-age.” said Annie Zander, a third year acting major who stars as Vic. Zander appreciates that the story is told from the perspective of youngsters.
“I love that these characters are middle schoolers who are telling a greater story of the world around them —they are observant, clever, and driven. It is amazing seeing them come to life on film,” said Zander.
Lani-Marie Carbonel, a fourth year student majoring in music and acting, believes that “This play is about not being afraid to use your own voice to uplift your beliefs and take care of the people you care about.”
Carbonel, who portrays Sarah, appreciates the play’s innocent take on a complicated world. “I am most excited about each character in this show. They are so young, yet there is a maturity in their conviction and strength when it comes to standing up for what is right.”
Allen Qiu is a third year student who plays Robbie, the story’s only male character.
“This play is about the fight between the collective power and individual power,” he said. “It is also about giving young women a voice, listening to and trusting them.”
Cassiel Cao, a fifth year theatre major, stars as Jo. “W.R.O.L. is a revelation, especially for girls,” she said. As I explored the story, I couldn't help thinking about what kind of future we should create for ourselves and our children.”
Cao believes that the apocalyptic mood of the play surprisingly reveals a “possibility of redemption.”
Director Angela Konrad chose a pandemic-perfect play
“The play’s mystery and humour, seriousness and optimism, strike the perfect tone for this time,” Konrad said. “When we chose it, the pandemic was underway but we did not realize how much it would still be our reality right now.”
Konrad says she “can’t wait” to share this play with the world.
“When I first read (the script), I was hesitant to do it at TWU because I loved it so much and believed it was so important that everyone should see it; but our audience capacity is quite small. Now, through the magic of technology, everyone can see the play!” she enthused.
The play’s characters demonstrate that sometimes, the innocent are the wiser. “Hearing the voices of these young people, who are paying attention to the world around them in a way the grown-ups aren’t, is inspiring,” said Konrad
Making theatre during COVID-19 has been a test of creativity.
“Our goal was to rehearse like theatre and film it like film, in order to preserve some of the best of both media,” Konrad explained. “That worked out better than we could have imagined, even though we were making it up as we went along!”
Was social distance a hurdle for actors?
With proper health precautions “we were able to rehearse more-or-less normally,” Konrad said. “The actors stayed at least six feet apart (except in instances where they are in the same bubble) and all crew wore masks.”
“We took regular rehearsal breaks and aired out the room. There were a couple places (where) we needed to adjust the movement suggested in the script to a pandemic reality; but it lent itself to that really well, so it was a pretty smooth process,” she said.
The filming was completed on Nov. 2. The assistant director—Hannah Nicolle, a fourth year Arts, Media and Culture major—is also the film’s editor. She edited the footage and paired it with sound effects and music composed by music students James Tseung and Anthony Nootebos.
“This play is about a group of passionate, independent kids, who are used to not being listened to, finally taking matters into their own hands,” said Nicolle. “It is about relationship, justice, growth, and love, with a dash of humour for good measure.”
Enjoy theatre at home with Trinity Western’s current show
W.R.O.L. premieres via live stream on Dec. 1 at 7:30pm, and is available via video on demand Dec. 2–13. Tickets can be purchased prior to Dec. 1 or anytime up until Dec. 13. Patrons will receive a viewing link and access code by email.
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About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has five campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, Ottawa, and Bellingham, WA. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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