Busted Space tackles religion on campus

With the help of a spotlight and a stage, a group of Ball State theatre students attempted to explore the complexities of religious belief and understanding on Sunday night.

"Let's Talk About: Religion" was presented by the Busted Space Theatre Company in its fourth installment of the "Let's Talk About" series, following similar productions about sex, discrimination and love.

The show was created by compiling anonymous submissions from Ball State students on the topic of religion. The stories were then narrowed down and organized into a cohesive production, performed by actors from the Department of Theatre and Dance. In order to appear unbiased, both positive and negative submissions were included, as well as those by a wide variety of religions.

"I was focusing on which ones really spoke to me, which ones were strong, which ones really had something to say and which ones weren't just preaching," said Brandon Allmon-Jackson, senior theatre directing major and director of "Let's Talk About: Religion." "I was looking for actual stories."

At the beginning of the show, the 14 members of the cast descended upon the stage, all reciting their respective characters' monologues in unison. As the chaos calmed and the other actors seated, the first character stepped forward and told his story, opening with a question that summed up the purpose of the production.

"Why can't everyone else just see what I see?" said Tristan James, sophomore design technology major and actor in the show.

As the show progressed, each actor presented stories encompassing such diverse religions as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Paganism and Islam. Some stories dealt with the struggles of self-realization, understanding death and tolerance, while a few even dealt with conflict between religion and sexuality.

"There's always so much to talk about with religion," Allmon-Jackson said. "It's such a hot topic and people heat up over it so easily. What I want to accomplish with this production is show that there is a way that we can coexist with different religions, and also have those people respect other religions. At the end of the day, it's all about love."

The Busted Space Theatre Company has been on Ball State's campus for five years, presenting "Let's Talk About" shows for three years.

"I love the idea of student organizations," theatre major and actor Derek Grabner said. "With Busted Space, it is a completely student-run organization of theatre kids who are getting together and trying to do stuff on their own. We are completely funded on our own, we raise money for ourselves and we try to give others an opportunity to get on stage who aren't getting into shows or for those who want to do experimental theatre. Everything here is done for the love of theatre."

Due to the response from this show, those working within Busted Space are optimistic about future "Let's Talk About" shows, though they still stress the importance that increased student involvement might have on the shows.

"Being on a college campus, I think what we would like to do in the future is reach more people and get more opinions, so we can hopefully argue everyone's point," Grabner said. "The biggest thing with this production, especially with the subject, we wish we had more submissions so that we could encompass more views."



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