The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Devised Theater

Dock's spring drama consisted of two scripted one-act plays and a piece that we as a creative team developed together. The theme of story-telling ties the pieces together.


betweenity by Lindsay Price

We’ve all been there. The awkward pause. The silence where you just can’t think of something to say. The space in between words where nothing is said and yet so much is spoken. The state of being between.

This vignette play explores the beats, pauses, and never-ending silences in conversation. The girl who tries to tell her best friend she wants to date him. The boy who creates the wrong kind of pause. The sister who is dealing with the silent treatment. The guy who wants to confess but can’t open his mouth. The daughter who doesn’t want to talk because talking makes her remember.


One Hundred Lies by Alan Haehnel

In this poignant comedy, teenager Liz Nostrand presents her life as a competition, complete with scoreboard and time clock. The goal of the game: To dramatize, in only 30 minutes, 100 significant lies told by and to Liz. By the final buzzer, though, we see that the most crucial lies in Liz’s life are those she has told herself. One Hundred Lies brings you in laughing and sends you out thinking.


One Hundred Lies


Devised Theater

Performance Photos

The Ensemble

Ms. Karen Johnston


Rose Lambright


Mrs. Patti Guttenplan


Hannah Landis

Alexa Kennel

Liam Gingrich

Isaac Longacre

Sydney Cardy

Stage Crew - Lighting

Abigail Delp

Stage Manager

Emily Bennett

Ben Anderson

Ben Graham

Bryanna Dix

Dalton Moore

Elyssa Bochnowicz

Emma Robb

Emma Rose Thompson

Laura Olsen

Heidi Hackman

Hannah Hackman

Matt Lacek

Sam Thompson


Director Ms. Karen Johnston:

We are all a people of story. We define ourselves by narrative, introduce ourselves with setting, character and plot. “Tell me a story!” is surely one of every young child first and favored requests. In parts of Ireland, “What’s the story?” is a standard greeting. My vision for this year’s production was to provide a space for students to explore this power of story through both the telling and the creating.

Creative Consultants

Ted Swartz '74

Led by veteran actor Ted Swartz, Ted & Company TheaterWorks uses humor and professional storytelling to talk about issues of faith and social justice through live shows, DVDs, digital videos, scripts, discussion guides, and more. Our team of dynamic actors and musicians are passionate about creating art that provokes both laughter and thought, as all good comedy does.

Ted fell in love with acting and theater on his way to a traditional pastorate in the Mennonite church, a denomination not usually thought of as a hotbed of theatrical opportunities.

Coupling theater and seminary education, Ted became a theologian of a different sort. He discovered that at the intersection of humor and biblical story we often find new or different understandings of Scripture.

Ted is the creator or co-creator of over a dozen plays, and continues to perform and write across the US and abroad. In addition to acting in his own shows, Ted is an accomplished speaker and teacher, melding theater and comedy with issues of creativity, theology and faith in a profound and engaging presentation.

Ted is a 1989 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and a 1992 grad of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and now lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 

Michael Brix

Michael Brix is Executive Director of Yes! And Collaborative Arts, which equips children and young people with the tools to be better learners, to believe in themselves, and to realize their dreams through the work of creating collaboratively with peers and professional artists.

Yes! And... teaches a different way of interacting with kids, with each other, and with the world. They believe that children learn best when they are given the opportunity to engage with one another, classroom content, and their own ideas in the context of a safe, affirming, and specific environment. They call this Tribe Centered Learning.

Alumni Resources

Justin Yoder '09

Ted Swartz is an excellent resource and I’m excited that the students will get to benefit from his expertise, not just in terms of technique and craft, but also as it relates to making a career out of theater. 

This show is an opportunity for students to think critically and creatively about how to weave together an evening of theater using smaller pieces. How does the order of the pieces affect the way the audience experiences the show as a whole? What effect does juxtaposing one piece with another have on the experience? How will the team go about transitioning from one play to the next, and how can you craft transitions that propel the energy forward, give the audience an opportunity to digest what they’ve just seen, or lend commentary to what has come before?

There is great potential here for students to get a much more holistic view of all the important decisions and contributions that go into theatre-making–beyond just learning lines and performing onstage.  Students who may want to study theater when they leave Dock will be thankful to have this introduction to devising under their belt—and those who don’t continue on will look back at this experience as a unique opportunity to have a greater sense of ownership in the show. 

Jessica Hedrick '07

I am so excited that you are doing a derived piece with the students, and that Ted Swartz will be working with them. This is great opportunity to take Dock Theater to the next level. In some ways it is a risk, but I am glad you are stepping out to do this kind of work. It will be a great gift to the students to be able to express their own ideas and work together to create something unique.

I also appreciate the way you took student input into consideration and chose one-act plays that help them explore issues in relevant, contemporary settings. It is important to have students experience a wide variety of theater genres during high school. This will surely be a different experience, and may appeal to a different set of students. 

All that to say, you have my enthusiastic support—I can't wait to come see the show!

produced by special arrangement with

Performance Photos