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Faculty and staff take the stage 

MOORHEAD – Five faculty and staff members are involved in Theatre B’s upcoming production of This Random World.  

Founded in 2003, Theatre B is a non-profit community theatre company in Moorhead. Their mission is to “ignite conversations that transform our community through intimate and courageous stories,” stories that are often new and tackle contemporary topics. 

Minister for Vocation, Community and Service Jon Leiseth is directing the show. Leiseth first read the script, written by Stephen Dietz, when Theatre B chose to include it in their season. After immediately connecting with the script, Leiseth put his hat in the ring to direct the show and was chosen. 

“It resonated with me quickly on first read. I read this one and I said, ‘I would love to direct this one, please consider me as a director for this one,’ so thankfully the company took that into consideration and said, ‘yes we would like you to direct this play,” Leiseth said. 

The show highlights themes of family whether by choice or by blood, sibling relationships, loss and grief and caregiving. The play “keeps going back and forth over the line of funny and not funny,” Leiseth said.  

A number of Concordia alumni are also working on the production in various tech and behind the scenes roles. Leiseth has found the experience working with so many Cobbers to be a joy. 

“To be able to have relationships that span multiple contexts– I find that enriching because I enjoy these folks,” Leiseth said.  

Campus Visit and Event Coordinator Charlie Williamson is a cast member in This Random World. Williamson has been doing theatre since elementary school and grew up in a family of performers. Williamson got their bachelor’s of arts in theatre performance from Colorado State University before moving to Moorhead. 

“It’s fun to see each other on campus or deepen those friendships and connections and, you know, go to rehearsal at the end of the day and be able to reference things about work,” Williamson said.  

This is Williamson’s second show at Theatre B after appearing in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche last fall.  

“This show has been special for me because it has made me think about my day to day life, the seemingly random experiences that I would have with random strangers that’s made me wonder about what’s going on in their lives and their story, and the possibility that I could be connected to them in some way,” Williamson said. 

Music history instructor Annett Richter is a contributing visual artist for This Random World. Richter works with a few different forms of media but has lately gained attention for her work with alcohol inks. Leiseth attended Richter’s exhibition last fall called A New Journey in Color. This was where the collaboration started.  

“After I showed him some digital examples of my art, he seemed to recognize parallels between the technique, process, and results in my work with the inks—the abstract shapes that emerge as well as the unpredictable ways in which these vibrant colors merge and mingle on the paper… The unpredictability that results from working with alcohol inks struck something in Jon’s mind,” Richter said. 

Leiseth took more designers for the show to the art exhibition, and they discovered parallels between the artwork and the plot of the play and how the characters interact. 

Richter began her work with alcohol inks in 2019 and even met artist-in-residence in Fargo-Moorhead and at Concordia Jo Verdis. Richter considers Concordia an inspiration for her artmaking; one of her pieces was chosen to be displayed publicly in collaboration with Tri-College and The Arts Partnership. Richter’s painting Follow the Light was installed on the utility box on campus at the intersection of 8th St S and 12th Ave S last fall. 

Communication and Student Engagement Specialist Ro Contreras is an assistant stage manager for the production, and Administrative Assistant for the Career Center Whitney McClain is a cast member too. 

Because of faculty, staff and alumni involvement, Leiseth had the idea to hold a “Cobber night” on Saturday, May 4. The event will include discounted tickets for Cobbers with the code “CONCORDIA,” and a talkback after the show with some of the actors and artists. 

“I’m grateful to be part of a community which recognizes and supports that I am an artist, that’s part of who I am and what I do. To have students, staff, and faculty at the college be interested in my art making, whether it’s off campus or on, I’m very grateful for that,” Leiseth said.  

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