Woman’s inspiration plays out on stage at local festival

| Josie Bungert for The Catholic Spirit | July 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s note: K.D. Howells first shared her story with The Catholic Spirit in the April 10, 2014, edition.

Playwright K.D. Howells (seated) listens to the cast of her play, “It Only Takes One,” during rehearsal July 27 at the Rarig Center Xperimental Black Box Theater on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. Performances will be Aug. 1-9 as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Jim Bovin / For The Catholic Spirit

Playwright K.D. Howells (seated) listens to the cast of her play, “It Only Takes One,” during rehearsal July 27 at the Rarig Center Xperimental Black Box Theater on the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. Performances will be Aug. 1-9 as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Jim Bovin / For The Catholic Spirit

After an eye-opening conversion to Catholicism last spring, theater historian K.D. Howells is putting her newfound faith into practice in a musical she wrote and directed.

“It Only Takes One” combines her commitment to prayer and theater, and will be featured at the Minnesota Fringe Festival Aug. 1-9.

“It specifically was the meetings and praying with people that I really just discovered who I am again . . . the whole conversion process is really intense, and you kind of take a stab with what God wants you to do with your life,” said Howells, a parishioner at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. “It’s inspired me to actually submit [the play] for the fringe festival.”

Minnesota Fringe is one of many nationwide fringe festivals. Fringe performances are selected randomly, in a lottery. Though this is Howells’ first play, she had a feeling that her work would get chosen.

This feeling led to being picked, and Howells saying, “OK, God, this is the story I’m going to tell now.”

The storyline is about a woman who cares for marginalized people on the street, the people Howells believes Jesus focused on. A businessman, stuck in his routine, meets the woman and sees something in her that he wants for himself.

Curtis Roth, who is part of music ministry at Valley Christian Church in Apple Valley, plays the role of the businessman.

“He is really mirroring the world, the parts of the world that [we] have forgotten about,” Roth said. “His character is kind of who we’re accusing, and we are asking the hard questions of. . . From the audience’s perspective, I am kind of them.”

Roth said he relates to the character because he lost touch with his faith when he made the move from Minnesota to New York to study musical theater.

“What I enjoy most is how much it does mirror the world that I see and the world that I’ve gotten involved and swallowed up in,” he said. “When I got to New York, I quickly forgot my faith, and got into the ‘go to work, do your thing, don’t let anybody hold you down or take you apart from that.’”

The narrator’s message to the audience is to live a life opposite of this — one fueled by the idea that “it only takes one” to make a difference.

“A big part of it is we sabotage ourselves so much,” Howells said. “We say, ‘We can never do that, I’ll do it tomorrow, it’s not important right now.’ We always think about these things, but we sabotage ourselves by not taking action.”

Though she has known what to convey through the musical, Howells has struggled with creating it. The process hasn’t been as natural as she would have hoped, just like her conversion to Catholicism from non-denominational Christian.

“With my background and my conversion, I thought this would be easy,” Howells said. “But I still find myself praying and asking God to help me figure this puzzle out. I have to work on my faith just as regularly as I have to work on this play, if not more, just to keep me afloat in life.

“I was kind of expecting this ‘aha!’ moment,” Howells continued. “I find myself in Mass sometimes, realizing 10 more things I can change to be a better person. It’s a never-ending conversion.”

Like Howells, Roth found a way to be involved with the play while incorporating his faith.

“The one reason I got out of musical theater was because I was tired of the noise, I guess,” he said. “When I saw this show and read the script, it has a good message that has a potential to be a platform for the Gospel of Christ.”


 

“It Only Takes One”

An original musical by K.D. Howells

Where

University of Minnesota Rarig Center, Xperimental Black Box Theater, Lower Level 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis

Show times

10 p.m. Aug. 1

7 p.m. Aug. 2

8:30 p.m. Aug. 4

5:30 p.m. Aug. 6

7 p.m. Aug. 9

Each performance will have a post-show meet-and-greet at a local restaurant.

Purchase tickets

Visit http://www.fringefestival.org and type “It Only Takes One” in the search box under Menu.

On the Web

http://www.facebook.com/ItOnlyTakesOneNewMusical/

 

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Category: Faith and Culture