published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Lee University theater students create ‘Lessons’ from scratch

Last summer, five Lee University theater students were commissioned to work with assistant professor of theater Dan Buck on a first-of-its-kind project at the Cleveland, Tenn., campus.

The culmination of their time together is an original theater production written by Buck and his young collaborators: Michael Bachman, Natalie Brouwer, Jordan Davis, Jillian Spears and Jonathan Swindle.

“Lessons” opens today, Feb. 14, and runs through Monday, Feb. 18, in the Edna Minor Conn Theatre.

According to Buck, who directs the production, this was the first time Lee Theatre students had explored devised theater. The group’s efforts formed nontraditional narrative structure, music and projections to convey the overlapping stories and ideas.

“Lessons” follows the lives of four individuals taking music lessons with the same teacher. As they wrestle with their respective instruments, they also find themselves entangled with obstacles to true joy in their lives.

The play centers on music, specifically by Spears, a member of the band The Mailboxes, and contains five original songs.

“I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much talent, and I can’t say enough how much the students’ work and contributions have made this play stronger and made me a better artist,” said Buck. “(‘Lessons’) has a lot of levity, but it is a highly personal work for the writers and cast.”

In addition to the 14-student cast, Buck’s 9-year-old son, Isaac, makes a brief appearance in the play.

The EMC Theatre is on the third floor of the Vest Building, 1125 Church St., N.E. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students. They are available at the Dixon Center box office from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays and an hour before showtime.

For more information, call 423-614-8343, email, or visit

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