Arts & Culture / Mosaic / October 26, 2016

Introducing “A Matter of Life (and Maybe Death)”

Sophomore Deja Jenkins sits on the set before a rehearSal of her show. The show will be performed in Studio Theatre Oct. 28. (Theresa Murphy/TKS)

Sophomore Deja Jenkins sits on the set before a rehearSal of her show. The show will be performed in Studio Theatre Oct. 28. (Theresa Murphy/TKS)

It all started with a high schooler, a creative writing assignment and an idea. Several years later, Knox sophomore Deja Jenkins is about to watch her creation come to life on stage as this term’s student run production.

Jenkins had the idea for this story during her high school creative writing class. During her junior year, when they were required to write plays, she started forming the script. Jenkins has enjoyed her involvement with the theatre department so far and especially appreciates the unique opportunities that Knox provides.

“I would go to creative writing class every day and write a page or two, and it just slowly came together,” said Jenkins. “I added some parts later so that the balance of characters worked better. I think I spent the longest time going back on character development and trying to fix the balance there, but for the most part it just was maybe like a month of just going to class, writing a little bit and then piecing it together later.”

Jenkins saw the opportunity to display her show at Knox and was excited for the opportunity. She admired the budget and time Knox has allowed her to use in order to produce this show.

“My sister is astounded because she goes to a big university and I don’t think they ever have student-written shows there,” Jenkins said. “So I think it’s really great that playwrights, student directors and all the crew are pretty independent here.”

Sophomore David Petrak, who plays Henry in the production, thinks the show is a unique experience. The world the show creates, Petrak thinks, contributes to its uniqueness.

“It deals with people who are ‘there’ but not really there,” says Petrak. “You’re getting it all through the perspective of this girl who’s in a coma so its like you see things differently.”

Freshman actress Cara Chang had never acted before she came to Knox. She acted in Playground earlier this term, but this will be her first time in a full one act play.

“I have never been involved with theater. I heard that there was an audition, and there was a poster that said ‘no experience necessary,’ so I’m like, ‘why not? It’s college, I’m gonna try things I’ve never done before,” said Chang.

Although the acting experience is new for her, she has been learning from the other three cast members and hopes to continue her involvement with the theater program at Knox.

“It’s actually been really fun,” said Chang. “I’m learning a lot. There’s four people in the play, and the other three actors have all been involved in theater and they know a lot … I think I might take a theater class now, because I’m actually having a really good time. I even got to help build the set,”

Petrak stresses that this opportunity for the theater department and by the viewing audience is something that should be embraced. It’s something that he sees as a key benefit to everyone at Knox.

“If you really want to see that ‘Knox experience’ by the students then you should come and see it, because everything that’s done is by the students,” said Petrak. “I think that is the most amazing part. There’s no advisors or faculties who have their hand in it, so it’s all the students. It’s a really amazing and unique show.”

Kenna Bell

Tags:  and death debut life Matter Of possiblt possibly

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