| Black Hills State University students Peter Amendolar, biology major from Red Wing, Minn., and Dominique Laki, standing, history education major from Rapid City, rehearse for the upcoming production of "The Ghost's Bargain and the Haunted Man," a modernized adaptation of Charles Dickens' novella written by BHSU graduate Jessica Juhrend.
A play inspired by a Charles Dickens Christmas story and written by Black Hills State University alumna Jessica Juhrend will be performed in the Woodburn Hall Theatre Thursday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Juhrend wrote the Christmas play “The Ghost’s Bargain and the Haunted Man” which is about an unhappy man named Redlaw who is visited by a spirit on Christmas Eve. The spirit offers to erase all of Redlaw's bad memories and lead him to the healing power of selfless deeds. The play is a modernized adaptation of Dickens’ novella.
Juhrend graduated from BHSU in 2011 and received her master of fine arts from Adelphi University's creative writing program last May. She is currently teaching English composition at Adelphi and Suffolk Community College and is an active member in the New York City theatre scene. She recently finished an internship with an off-Broadway theatre company that produces interactive murder mysteries.
Juhrend said she was inspired to write the play because theatre companies tend to produce a lot of the same Christmas plays in a never-ending cycle. Jessica said Bert Juhrend, associate professor of theatre at BHSU and her dad, suggested looking at some of Dickens’ less popular stories, which led her to “The Haunted Man,” the last and hardest-hitting of the five novels Dickens wrote for the Christmas season.
Jessica is not able to make it back to Spearfish to direct her play but is glad she was able to take part in the University’s holiday production. Her dad will be directing the play for her.
“The Ghost’s Bargain and the Haunted Man” is the third play Jessica has had produced at BHSU. In 2008, she wrote “Letters from the Past” specifically for the University’s 125th Anniversary. In 2009, she wrote “Blood” which won her a place in the Los Angeles Blank Theatre 17th Annual Young Playwrights Festival.
Ticket prices are $8 for general admission, $6 for non-BHSU students and seniors, and free for faculty, staff, and students. No reservations are required. For more information, email Bert.Juhrend@BHSU.edu or call 605.642.6268.