The Harbinger Play

While playing a popular card game, inspiration struck theatre student Bernard Manatu to write a play that will soon be produced at UVa-Wise.

The two-month process of researching playwrights, developing a thought-provoking plot and creating lively characters proved to be well worth the time for Manatu. “The Harbinger” was inspired by his love of fantasy gaming, especially “Magic: The Gathering.”

“The play started off as a project for a playwriting class taught by Professor Michael Hunt and soon became a story I wanted to see on stage, which is why I chose playwriting as my theatre senior seminar focus,” Bernard said.

“The Harbinger” will be directed by Chelsey Spencer, who is serving as a student director for the spring semester. Spencer has been involved in past UVa-Wise theatre productions, including her portrayal of Orlando in “As You Like It.”

Ancient Greek playwrights, such as Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes influenced Bernard heavily while he created his work.

“The play follows a religious warrior, Jacob, who ventures into a nearby forest to conquer an evil which has been terrorizing his village, Obsidian,” Manatu said, explaining the plot. “While Jacob is in the forest, he learns more about his faith and the lies which have been spread in regards to his religion.”

The compelling plot, mixed with the exploration of dynamic situations, will allow the actors to embody a persona of courage and vitality. In other words, one can expect a very powerful performance.

“I am excited for the production process this semester, working with director Chelsey Spencer and seeing my play on stage,” Manatu said. “The main thing I want people to take away from my play is enjoyment. The core themes of self-reflection and religious conflicts would be a nice bonus, too.”

Auditions for “The Harbinger” have been held, casting will soon be announced and the production will soon be underway. For Manatu, it will be an exciting endeavor.

For more information about “The Harbinger”, contact Michael Hunt at

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