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SU hopes to bring 'Witchcraft' to the masses

May 10, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Nick Ray traveled across the Atlantic Ocean with a video camera to pull the play "Witchcraft" out of the theater and make it available to many more people via the Internet.

Ray, who recently graduated from Shippensburg (Pa.) University, created an interactive Web site, witchcraft.njray.com, to help students study 19th-century theater through performance, rather than reading. The site will include interviews with London actors, journal articles and essays about author Joanna Baillie.

The site, which is still a prototype, provides more outside influences than those typically studied in a class, Ray said.

"Unlike Shakespeare's plays or many of the ones more commonly studied, 'Witchcraft' is more obscure. (The site) is a holistic approach to learning theater: a gateway to the video and script, and a starting point from which students can branch out to other resources," said Ray, who is the son of Don Jr. and Teresa Ray.

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Ray graduated from Waynesboro Area Senior High School in 2005 and entered college as an undeclared major. He later chose to focus on communications, but he hadn't designed a Web site before and learned to write html for the "Witchcraft" project.

"The Web site itself has taken more than 100 hours," Ray said.

Ray and his adviser, Tom Crochunis, had to negotiate agreements with the actors at Finborough Theatre. Ray made two trips overseas to film.

The actors "haven't seen it yet, just because I haven't gotten all the files uploaded," he said.

Ray's experiences with "Witchcraft" provided him with skills used in other efforts, including a promotional video for the Chambersburg Memorial YMCA and a political blog. He plans to study film and video as a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C., this fall.

"I've gotten so much out of this project," Ray said. "It's more than I could've expected."

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