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“Creatures of the Night" and “Sabertooth!” opens April 21

The Wabash College Theater Department returns to the stage this week with its final production of the 2020-21 season, presenting a double bill of weird one-act plays — “Creatures of the Night" and “Sabertooth!” — written by local playwright Bennett Ayre.

Actors participate in a rehearsal ahead of opening night.Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, through Saturday, April 24, at the Fine Arts Center’s Ball Theater.

No tickets are required for this in-person performance, but seating is limited. All who attend must follow COVID-19 protocols such as mask wearing and physical distancing.

Directed by Visiting Professor Rob Johansen, “Creatures of the Night" tells the story of Conk and Fleckwell, founding members of the Lycanthrope Action Committee, who believe there’s a werewolf terrorizing their town after several small animals have gone missing. The duo – devoted to science and research – devise a plan to catch the mythical creature.

“The play takes place on the first night of them out looking for the werewolf, and it explores the characters’ relationship,” Johansen said. “You watch as these nerds, these two lonely hearts, look for a thrill.”

“Sabertooth!” gives off “1950s science-fiction movie vibes,” Johansen said, and takes place on a military base where two scientists, Dr. Halpin and Dr. Estes are locked in an ugly competition, each seeking approval for their bio-weapons projects.

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. April 21 through April 24.When Halpin's test subjects escape, the research facility becomes a deadly maze where the scientists must work out their past betrayals and collaborate.

“There’s zombies and cats,” Johansen said, “and everything gets a little bit out of control.

“Both of these plays are very outlandish and not what you would expect from typical storytelling,” he said. “But they’re a heck of a lot of fun, and the students that are in them are having an absolute ball embracing the characters.”

The cast of “Creatures of the Night" include Kevin Ballard-Munn ’22 playing Fleckwell and Robert Borland ’22 as Conk. The cast of “Sabertooth!” include Andrew Rippy ’22 as Estes, Jackson Miller ’23 as Halpin and Rob Castellano ’22 as the director.

Given the many challenges and obstacles actors have had to overcome during COVID, Johansen said he’s proud of all the work students have put in to perfect this quirky production.

“For all of the performers to suffer through the pandemic and then have the ability to present some semblance of a normal theatrical event is such a thrill,” Johansen said. “Come be a part of a Wabash event that celebrates the fact that our students put themselves out there in creative ways to enhance their college experience.”