Germs and Viruses

The production of “Germs and Viruses” was put together by GCC professor Kirt Shineman whose previous plays have received accolades. In 2011, “The Pornographer” was one of fifty plays selected for the national conference.

His production, “The Forbidden Glass”, was a finalist in the 2013 Great Gay Play Contest for Pride Films and Plays in Chicago. He describes “Germs and Viruses” as the story of a Middle Eastern revolution and a blogger who writes about it.

This new play will give the audience insight on facing the realities of a media-based society. – The Levant, an Arab country, is ready for a new leader. Will the country return to its former dictator, and anti-American regime, or is it time for a democracy? Seban, a blogger, begins to rally her readers, and, like a virus, a pro-democracy uprising grows. Yet, Seban isn’t the cure her country thinks she is.

Who will believe the propaganda for the truth, or the truth for the propaganda? Shineman came up with the concept when he heard about the Syrian spring from the blog and then on BBC News when he heard it was a fake blog.

“Her blogs were helping the Arab Spring all over the middle-East. People were quoting her, using her name in rallies, posting her image as a reminder of the hero’s words. Eventually it is discovered that Amina was not a real person, but a man blogging from his home in the USA. This play examines the story, the confusion of revolutions and the power of the internet to change countries,” Shineman said.

The main challenge he had to overcome was most people don’t know much about Syria and Islam. The play deals with both and gives the audience a better understanding of both. Students at GCC had no idea about the play, but think the premise sounds intriguing. “I don’t know much about Syria, and this play sounds like something that is relevant to what is going on in the world right now,” said GCC student Kyle Hilt.

Another challenge is that he teaches six courses at GCC while handling the production. This makes getting time to write, research, create, promote, and publish the play difficult. Shineman usually finds talent through auditions, word of mouth, and asking friends. GCC Student Austin Kiehle plays the lead role of Seban (Amina) in the production. Even with all of the challenges everything sounds like it went smoothly.

“The final workshop staged reading of it went well. I wish we had more media used, and would love to see the set. I can’t wait for this important play to finally get a full run production,” Shineman said. The play is a finalist in the National New Play Network Showcase.

The NPN Showcase works like an auction after the presentation. If it is chosen to be read at the NNPN Showcase, then all of the NPN Theaters across the nation will have the opportunity to bid on the play for production. The play sounds like it has the right recipe for a successful run, and all of the credit should rightfully be bestowed to Kirt Shineman.