“That’s great, thank you!”
The directors smiled as the eager first-year student flounced off stage and another took her place, ready to audition. I watched from the back of the small theater, where I sat with my director. She scribbled notes about each actor as they read from scripts clenched tightly in nervous hands. I still couldn’t believe I was watching people audition to be in a play that I had written.
Okay, wait – maybe I should back up a bit.
This semester, I am taking the first of many writing workshops required for English majors in the Creative Writing concentration. Recently, we were asked by our professor to submit a short fiction piece, which our classmates would then workshop and give us feedback on, explaining what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what could be improved. But, in my free time, I was also working on another project, a short play I was writing outside of class, simply for the pleasure of writing. And so, every time I sat down to get started on my homework assignment, the short play kept fighting for my attention.
UGH Just focus, Jamie, I grumbled to myself. Maybe you should just get the play done so you can focus on your homework.
Yes, okay, I agreed. I’ll finish the play I’m working on first then start the assignment next week. After all, I still had ages before it was due.
When I finally scripted the last curtain at the end of my play, I couldn’t help but smile, pleased with my work. And now it was time to roll up my sleeves and knock out that homework. But then the thought struck me: how strict was the term, fiction, exactly? Could I submit the short drama I had just penned for peer review? Did it have to be prose? To my delighted surprise, my professor gave me the green light when I asked him about this in our next class meeting.
Later, another student in the class pulled me aside.
“Do you know anything about Under Siege?” she asked me.
Under Siege? What was this new mystery? I inquired further, walking with her out of the library and into the chilly November air.
Apparently, Under Siege is a student organization open to actors from all disciplines in the university. And, as it turns out, they produce an entire showcase dedicated to short student works. After selecting their submissions, they cast and rehearse the plays before performing short readings at the end of the semester. My classmate was already involved in the club, and she asked me if I would be interested in submitting my work.
Um, let me think: YES.
I typed up an eager email and submitted my script. After a month of nail biting and frequent email checking, I was delighted to learn my piece – you know, the one I had written in my free time then turned in for class – had been chosen for the showcase my classmate had told me about. I was even invited to come and watch the auditions with my director. This was great. Now not only would I get to have my play critiqued by students in the workshop class, but I would also get to see it performed by Arcadia student actors. I couldn’t believe it.
Now that we’ve casted the play and rehearsals are upon us, I am counting down the days until the night of the showcase. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous about having my work performed in front of an audience. Originally, my audience had consisted of my fellow classmates. And because we have spent the past semester getting to know each other and becoming really close, I was comfortable with them. But now, my audience has grown into whoever decides to walk through the doors at the New Works Showcase December 12th in the Spruance Fine Arts Center Theater.
Nerves aside, more than anything else, I am extremely excited. Not only will my play be read, but a collection of five other works all written by Arcadia students will be performed as well, which I also can’t wait to see. I took a play I was already writing in my spare time and pulled it into the worlds of both academia and student theater. Now I get to sit back and watch it grow both inside and outside the classroom.
How’s that for extra credit?