August Jeske (left) and Hank Heyer in 'Saint Guillotine.'

Bethany alumni produce Fringe Festival show

The Red Hats Company, made up of Bethany Lutheran College alumni Benji Inniger and Jacob Kempfert are producing a show entitled Saint Guillotine at the 2015 Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Fringe Festival is a performing arts festival held every summer. This year, 172 different shows will be produced in 24 venues throughout Minneapolis. Inniger also serves as Assistant Professor of Theatre at Bethany.

Saint Guillotine, written by Kempfert (pseudonym Jaap Kemp) is set in France in 1905. The story is inspired by the actual writings of Dr. Gabriel Beaurieux who tried to prove that severed heads remain conscious and responsive after execution. The subject of reliable humane execution has been a consistent topic of debate for the past few centuries, which is strongly continuing today. Much of the emotional and political ramifications of Dr. Beaurieux’s challenges against the state are eerily reminiscent of the debate against the electric chair earlier this century and contemporary lethal injection.

Despite the dark subject matter, the play is not intended to be shocking or overtly violent. Although the characters interact in the shadow of the guillotine, the story focuses much more closely on the characters that are affected by its use.

As previously mentioned, Kempfert (class of 2008) wrote the play and is also acting. Inniger (class of 2006) produced and directed the play, as well as created the sound design and music.

Bethany alumni also make up the core of the acting talent in the production. Emily Kimball (class of 2010) designed the costumes, and Hank Heyer (class of 2015), August Jeske (class of 2015), David Roemhildt (current student), and Anna Kempfert (class of 2011) are also acting. Cassie Wierschke (class of 2014) is the stage manager. Jake Sullivan, a BFA theatre student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, is also acting.

“Saint Guillotine” plays at the Kilburn Arena theater at the Rarig Center, University of Minnesota.

  • Friday, 7/31 at 8:30pm
  • Saturday, 8/1 at 2:30pm
  • Sunday, 8/2 at 5:30pm
  • Friday, 8/7 at 4:00pm
  • Saturday, 8/8 at 7:00pm