Two Theatre Seniors Present: “Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)” 

The Theatre 497 project is a rigorous senior capstone project that displays the culmination of years of studying theater at Hope College that many senior theater majors take on. As it is one of the best ways to see the results of years of hard work, please come and watch as two seniors, Grant McKenzie and Bri Tomczak, stage Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno. 

Brought to life exclusively by five Hope Students, Thom Pain is a single-actor performance that revels in redefining what you thought you knew about theater, routinely breaking the fourth wall and cultivating an immersive environment. In McKenzie’s words, “It’s a postmodern monologue about the human experience delivered directly to the audience.” The play itself is a celebrated and critically acclaimed work of art, with The Guardian writing a particularly glowing review following the show’s debut in 2005: “It is vicious stuff, written in a language so deceptively innocent, so full of platitudes, that you don’t realize it has cut you deep until you feel the warm seep of bloody despair.” Dive deep into the psyche of the conflicted titular character…or at least as deep as he allows you to venture.

Play a meaningful part in the journey of several Hope students and celebrate the dedication and perspiration these incredibly talented individuals have invested into a night you will never forget. You will step into the auditorium as an integral piece of a one-of-a-kind performance, all for the low price of $3 at the door. Three shows are scheduled for Feb 9 at 9 PM and Feb 10 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM in the Bultman Student Center Shaap Auditorium, located next to the Family Room. 

Seniors Bri Tomczak and Grant McKenzie are the director and lead actor respectively, with both also serving as producers and publicists. The rest of the team is as follows: Anne Slezak (‘27) as the stage manager, Alegría Guzmán (‘25) as the costume designer, and Ava Bell (‘26) as the lighting designer. Eric Van Tassell is the faculty advisor for this 497 project, providing oversight and invaluable moral support.

McKenzie on stage rehearsing while Slezak and Tomczak sit in the audience. Photo credit: Ava Bell (’26)

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