Eastern on the Fringe

Three Eastern students and several alumni will take part in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival this year. Seniors John Shultz, Alex Younger and Kaylee Goodwin have roles in the play, Missed Connections: A Craigslist Fantasia that will be performed as part of the festival.

The play is directed by Eastern alumna Elizabeth Carlson, and written by alumni Ben Hennesy, Tara Quinn, Alex Harne, Shannon Flannery and J. Mark Tebbin.

“It started when the writers got together with Liz (Carlson) and decided to construct a play around Craigslist,” Shultz said.

They found the most interesting Craigslist posts and built a play around them that explores identity. Playing Taylor, the main character, Shultz is one of only two performers to hold a single role throughout the play.

“Everyone else is quadruple or triple cast,” Younger said.

“Taylor at the beginning of the play has a very strong sense of self,” Shultz said. Throughout the play he goes on a journey, has interesting experiences, meets lots of people and loses that sense of self. It shows that “our minds can let us be anything we want to be,” Shultz said.

“Taylor is dragged through vignettes – short plays,” Younger said. He encounters different people from Craigslist.

“Mostly in the personal section because that is the most interesting part,” Younger said.

“(Taylor) encounters the frustrations, passions and emotions of Craigslist characters,” Shultz said.

“One of my roles – which is my favorite – is named Suicide,” Younger said. In one scene, he is writing a suicide note, but it is very melodramatic and not serious, he said. “Another person I play is a collector who likes to collect weird things.”

“In the end it’s still a comedy, and it’s still fun,” Shultz said.

The group had their first script reading at the end of July and now rehearse a couple of days a week.

“It is going to be fun to be in front of a Philadelphia audience,” Shultz said. “It will be my first time. We have all worked together before, and it is a great group of people.”

“I’m excited to see what the critics have to say,” Younger said. “I’m also excited for the whole product and to see how it works.”

Missed Connections: A Craigslist Fantasia will be performed at the Curio Theatre in west Philadelphia on Sept. 3-5, 10-12, 17 and 19. Tickets are $15 and can be bought at the door or at pafringe.com.

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