BPC senior's play 'Louder than Words' to take stage this week

By Jennifer Vaughn

MOUNT VERNON -- The culmination of a project Brewton-Parker College senior Mark Stokes began during the fall semester takes the stage this week when "Louder than Words," a comedy-drama presentation Stokes wrote and is directing, is presented in Gates Auditorium.

Performances will be Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, starting nightly at 8.

Stokes, a senior from Ludowici majoring in communication with a minor in creative writing, began writing the play during fall semester for a class credit and as part of an independent study class project.

Stokes said he first had the idea for the play "Louder than Words" because he could not remember lines when he participated in other plays. With his situation in mind, Stokes created Golden, a character who has no lines in the script.

"The central idea of this character is that he does not speak and has to portray characterization only through facial actions. 'Louder than Words' is centered on Golden's character and the evolutionary process of Aristotle's dramatic structure," Stokes said.

The play is set in the mobster era of the 1930s in the fictional metropolitan area of Babbleton. A stranger comes to town and the townspeople vividly notice that he is different.

While the townspeople try to find out who he is, conflicts between police and mobsters persist. As the townspeople try to find out more about the stranger, they in turn find out more about themselves through their own actions and discover the value of their actions is more so than their words.

Since Stokes first began writing the play, the finished work has gone through numerous changes in its plot and structure until he had something rewarding with which to work.

On the difficulty of bringing the play together for presentation, Stokes said: "It was difficult in the beginning; I even lost a couple of night's sleep, and it was intimidating."

Since Stokes selected his cast, practices have been held since the Christmas holidays usually two to three times a week and lasting up to two hours at a time.

"After I started working with actors who were willing and interested, and with good publicity, it all started coming together," Stokes said. "Although it is stressful now because the actual performances are coming up, everything is being brought together well."

After Stokes graduates in May, he would like to pursue a graduate degree in screenwriting and eventually use his experience to write mainstream movies.

Of his final expectations after graduation, Stokes says: "It's going to take a lot of prayer."

For ticket information concerning group rates, contact Luke Stokes after 5 p.m. at 583-3535.