A&E

New Play Workshop to Kickstart EU Theater

The 24-hour extravaganza that was this February’s seventh New Play Workshop is once again gracing the stage of Eastern University. With one director, a writer, two actors, and only 24 hours, teams will write, practice, and perform a ten-minute masterpiece to Eastern’s community on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m.

Students and alumni will gather on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 18, anticipating what alum and one of the NPW’s directors, Eva Farrell, simply deems “magic.” Like February’s NPW, the workshop is designed to give current Eastern students the opportunity to work with theater alumni and professional artists. Once the group of students and alumni are gathered, the 24-hour, coffee-fueled, salty snack-supplemented extravaganza commences. Teams gather in various rooms throughout McInnis, locked together in creative communion until the next day’s performance is upon them. Each team works throughout the evening, night, and next morning, crafting an original play to be ready for Saturday’s 8pm show time.

Farrell believes the collaborative groups formed within these 24 hours are what give NPW its ‘magic.’ She asks, “How do you get four people who have never worked together or sometimes are meeting each other for the first time to create something that came from each of them?” Perhaps it’s the NPW’s emphasis on the process rather than the result that leads four mere acquaintances to produce something entirely new and innovative. Farrell continues, “We are convinced that when the right people are put together in a space and are given license to be creative and an outlet for that creativity, that a sort of alchemy happens,” emphasizing the genius that results from these mysterious creative processes.

Unlike the NPW in the spring, however, the upcoming workshop is designed to kickstart the Theater Department’s year with a bang. Jenny Tibbels, Eastern’s Director of Theather, commented: “I thought it would be great to kick start the year with a theater opportunity that is fun, involves a short time commitment, and allows new and current students to build relationships with each other and alumni at the beginning of the year.” And unlike the freezing temperatures that inhibited teams from utilizing creative outdoor space during the February workshop, the September NPW participants will be able to use fall’s fair weather to their advantage, taking on new risks outside.

As alum Brooke Fitzgerald’s play “Consensual Cannablism” was featured last semester as a dialogue starter for the Task Force on Human Sexuality, Tibbels hopes to showcase several of this year’s productions during this year’s Fine Arts Festival Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. as part of Eastern’s Homecoming Weekend. Eastern’s community can look forward to NPW’s playful alchemy and watch “the remnants of that magic [and that] grace Eastern’s stage every time!”

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