Playground, an event put on in Studio Theatre, consists of several “bare stage” plays, or productions with no backdrop, costuming or props. Playwrights submit scripts that they want to see performed, so they can get an ear for the dialogue. It’s also an opportunity for actors and directors who want to get involved with Theatre, but can’t work with a long-term commitment.
The only things the audience see are the actors and the director seated onstage. This barren aesthetic is much different than that of a fully produced show. Although this may seem odd, to go to a play just to listen to dialogue, it is immensely helpful in the revision process for the writers and directors who are participating. Each writer has a different process in completing these productions and crafting their story on stage.
Megan Molloy – Writer
Senior Megan Molloy’s play, “Almost Neverland,” is being featured in Playground this term. She began working on the piece in her Beginning Playwriting class. It follows the evolution of the friendship and mental health of the two main characters as they grow up. She first got the idea for the play in the fall of 2015, and started working on it in workshop that winter.
“I left it alone for a little while, so it could breathe, so I could stop editing the same part over and over again,” said Molloy. “I think it needs new eyes, so I can get some perspective.”
The inspiration for this play comes from her hometown, where everybody knows someone with an eating disorder, to the point that it’s a part of that place’s culture. In this play, she wanted to examine this through a new lens. “I have more specific insight against stereotypes, like everybody assumes things about the mothers of people that have eating disorders, and I’ve talked to a lot of people specifically about that. The thing I most specifically want to point out is that like, I did pageants, but my mom didn’t force it on me,” said Molloy. For her, Playground is a “staged workshop, it’s for playing with plays.”
Deja Jenkins – Director/Writer
Last term, Sophomore Deja Jenkins submitted her play, “Perturbed,” to Playground. She wrote this play last year, for Beginning Playwriting and workshopped it there first. After Professor of Theatre Neil Blackadder encouraged his class to submit to Playground, she did so and workshopped it there as well. Now, she is directing “Perturbed” in Studio Theatre, her first time acting as a director.
“It’s about troubled youth that have some mental health issues,” said Jenkins. “They’ve been living in a house to kind of wait until they get their shit together, and one night one of them is like, ‘Alright, I’ve got to get out of here, I don’t want to feel like a patient anymore.’ And the friends are like, ‘Either don’t go or let me come with you,’ so they kind of decide that they’ve got to go.”
The point of doing a bare stage is to get familiar with the characters and the space of the stage. For Jenkins, this process will help her get an even deeper understanding and improve her characters and dialogue.
“So far it’s been pretty easy, the actors seem to understand it pretty well and we’re on the same page,” said Jenkins.
Jennie Jeoung – Writer
Sophomore Jennie Jeoung’s play is all about lucid dreaming: a form of sleep when you become aware that you are dreaming, and you can control what happens. The main character tells her best friend, Clara, about lucid dreaming. Her friend, a big fan of Shakespeare, is convinced to try lucid dreaming about him and his world, and then things go wrong.
“Basically there’s this girl, and she knows how to lucid dream, and she has a crush on someone, and she lucid dreams about doing things with her crush,” said Jeung.
She began working on this play last term, while taking Beginning Playwriting. Since she personally enjoys lucid dreaming, she thought it would be an interesting topic to explore in her writing.
“[Lucid dreaming] is really interesting, you know that you’re dreaming, but it doesn’t feel like you’re dreaming, it feels so real, and you can do whatever you want,” said Jeung. “I hope people enjoy it, especially because lucid dreaming isn’t a well-known thing, so I hope they understand what’s going on.”