Premiere of “I Do Believe” in Ryan Little Theatre: A Student-Written Play about Faith and Loss

Issue 4: April 6, 2022

Come see the first production of alumni Shawna Johnson’s play I Do Believe tomorrow on April 7th! I Do Believe, a two-act play written as part of Johnson’s Honors Opus project, is a story about the loss and revival of faith during difficult times. When Mia’s best friend, Kayla, dies in a car crash, she struggles with her faith, questioning why God would allow such a thing to happen. When Kayla’s brother, Logan, learns of Mia’s struggles, he tries to help her work through her questions and supports her.

Why do some people turn to God and why do others turn away from him in times of suffering? This is the heart of Johnson’s story. “Most of us have experienced loss and have been confused about why bad things have to happen,” Shawna Johnson says, “I honestly just took my experience and beliefs and tried to express them as best I could.”

The part of Mia will be played by freshman Theatre major Abby Ewing, and her brother Logan will be played by junior Theatre Education major Kelton Wehrman with Ashleigh Goff as the director. “I feel so honored to have my play produced at McMurry,” Johnson says, “It’s one thing to put your ideas into words, but then to actually have it come to life through the actors is amazing to watch. …I could not have asked for a better cast to make my words come to life.”

“I’ve never had a playwright present for any of my productions before,” says Babak Akavan, a junior Theatre major, playing the role of Derek, one of Logan’s friends. “I wanted to be as respectful as possible [to Shawna’s script]. It was really fun. I got to meet the playwright and we all became friends…”

Dalton Martinez, a junior Theatre major, plays the role of Keith, another one of Logan’s friends. “…This is truly a great story,” he says, “and it’s really relatable especially since we’re in such a pretty strong Christian community here in Abilene. While this may not be inspired by a true story, this is based off true events that can happen to anyone within the Christian faith.”

Shawna Johnson hopes audience members, “…come out of it with a sense that it’s okay to look for answers and ask questions… ultimately, it comes down to faith in God in good times and bad times, that he loves us, and he will always be there for us.”

Show times this week are April 7th through the 10th at 7:30 pm at Ryan Little Theatre.