Updated on April 6.


With the coming of spring comes opportunities for students to support our graduating seniors and their accomplishments. This week, theatre and dance seniors Annelise Wardwell, Aimee Kulp and Mackenzie Harrison will debut their original senior shows. 

Gaining inspiration from previous senior shows, Wardwell began brainstorming ideas in her freshman year. 

“I always sort of came back to this one idea,” Wardwell said. “In my life, generally when there’s something like that, that is sort of a sign that I should do it.”

Within the show, titled “The Order of Things,” Wardwell touches on the effects of tragedy on relationships. 

“It’s about what happens to relationships – specifically in this case, it’s a marital relationship – when faced with unimaginable odds,” Wardwell said. “And how, statistically speaking, when tragedy strikes, strong marriages tend to get stronger and weak marriages tend to get weaker and what that dynamic looks like.” 

Wardwell worked with junior theatre major Jim Hy for her show. During brainstorms, Hy was able to help her nail down specifics and turn those ideas into a reality.

A member of Messiah’s Honors Program, Wardwell is also using this show to fulfill her final honors project and she hopes to continue working on this show after graduation. 

Dance majors Kulp and Harrison took a different approach to their show, “For We Were Loved First.” 

Originally, Kulp and Harrison aimed to create solo shows. However, the department paired the two together and their ideas meshed, molding an original show that showcases both their views together. 

Full of carefully choreographed dance numbers, they display the four aspects of love: romantic, family/friends, self-love and agape love.

“We don’t have a main character, so our dancers find the fullness of agape and they realize what true love is through God,” Harrison said.

With a lack of dialogue, Kulp and Harrison needed to work differently to convey their messages. Music plays a part in that, as does movement. 

“It’s not just the words, it’s the silences between the words and how each character responds to each other,” Kulp said. “That’s how we choreographed it, so that it’s the choreography that’s also telling the story.”

To support these seniors and their original pieces, tune in to www.messiah.edu/SOTAlivestream. “The Order of Things” runs Mar. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m., and “For We Were Loved First” runs on April 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. Visit arts.messiah.edu for updates.