Marcus Bailey (kneeling) is surrounded by some of The Marauders, the unofficial theatre troupe he created on campus.
Monmouth College students in the fine arts pride themselves on being “seriously creative.” Marcus Bailey, a senior from Knoxville, is a prime example, not only through his writing and acting, but also in his creation of The Marauders.
The official theatre troupe at Monmouth, as it has been for decades, remains the Crimson Masque. But, unofficially, The Marauders are the new troupe on campus. The group has about 20 members.
“I started it last year among my friends,” Bailey said. “Then I wanted to see who else was interested, so I sent out an e-mail to my friends in the theatre department. Now, we’re the unofficial theatre troupe on campus. Everything we do is student-directed and student-written. We want to cover every single aspect of theatre, including happenings,” which are from the same performance genre as flash mobs.
Bailey is part of the official troupe, too, as he’s appeared in four Crimson Masque productions, including “War of the Worlds” and “Our American Cousin.” He’s also involved in the creative writing group Sulci and the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
On March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the college’s WIT Theatre, the Marauders will stage two dramas: “The Marauder,” a two-act, five-scene play written by Bailey, and another play by Mike Bennett, a senior from Monmouth. Bailey’s is set on a college campus and features a dean of students who is making the college into a prison. The title character, a masked figure, rises up against him. Bennett’s show is a detective story, as a man searches for the identity of his wife’s killer.
Bailey, who calls his Marauder a “renegade character,” said he created his troupe to reflect a similar sensibility. The troupe is not restricted to performing scripted work, as it presented an improv performance on campus last month.
“The Marauder” won’t be Bailey’s first work to see the stage. The English and psychology major has already seen one of his scripts performed at a theatre showcase event on campus.
An English major and writing go hand in hand, of course, but Bailey believes his study of psychology is also beneficial to his creative process.
“With acting comes being inside a character and identifying what they’re thinking and why they act the way they do,” he said. “So theatre, writing and psychology all come together in kind of a weird way.”
After he graduates in May, Bailey plans “to go to Chicago and give acting a shot while I’m young. If that doesn’t work out, I would go back to school for a year to get my certificate so I could teach English.”
So Bailey will continue to be seriously creative either way, whether expressing himself on stage or helping the next generation find its creative voice.