In Senior Theater Festival, the students own the process

Seven of the eight performances are originals created by students

Photo/Mike Lovett

The student participants in the Senior Theater Festival

From the inception of the eight projects to be presented in the Senior Theater Arts Festival, the creative process has belonged to the students who proposed them.

"They began with an idea of what they wanted to do, and in some cases they've changed quite drastically," Adjunct Instructor in Theater Arts and festival coordinator Jesse Hinson said. "But that principal thing that was burning inside them was there from the outset. We offer support, but we want this experience to be theirs. We want to create space for them to make it happen."

The projects were first proposed in April 2014 and reviewed and selected by a committee comprised of theater faculty. Seven of the eight projects are original pieces created by the students. Even though the festival lasts just six days, the students’ projects could live on far longer.

"We don't consider this to be the end, a lot of these projects, are new works that have been completely devised and written," Hinson said. "They are going to have life later on down the road. This is a moment to celebrate the work that’s happened so far."

The festival begins Tuesday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m. at the Laurie Theater with a panel discussion featuring some of the most predominant figures in Boston theater, including Ryan McKittrick, assistant professor in Theater Arts at Brandeis and Director director of artistic programs at the American Repertory Theater; Bevin O'Gara,  Huntington Theatre Company; Johnny Kuntz, award-winning playwright and Boston Conservatory faculty; Kate Snodgrass, artistic director of Boston Playwrights' Theater; and, David Gammons, award-winning director and Concord Academy faculty. The panel will be moderated by two festival participants, Anne Chmiel '15 and Charles Madison '15.

The following performances will be part of the festival. All events are free and open to the public. For a full performance schedule, visit the festival's website:

"Look Me in the Eyebrows"
Devised, written, and featuring Anne Chmiel '15

Join Chmiel as she forays into the world of stand up comedy tackling issues like the female condition and embarrassing the hell out of her parents. (While hopefully simultaneously making them proud after spending $200,000 on her education then having her decide she wants to be a comedian.) “It's sure to be a night you'll never forget!,” Chmeil promised. “Especially if you like jokes about vaginas. And, even if you don't, laugh anyway, please.”

"The Contractual Death of Jonathan G Faustus"
Devised, written, and featuring Alex Davis '15

Jonathan Faustus, MD-PhD, doesn’t intend to sell his soul to the demon he accidentally summons into his office on a bright autumn in Wittenberg. It just sort of happens. In the 24 years Faustus has left to live before his soul is dragged to hell, he struggles with demons both literal and figurative to come to an understanding about eternity, mortality, forgiveness, and gothic typeface in this Anti-Divine Comedy.

"Song of a Murderess"
Devised, written, and featuring Jade Garisch '15

Fallon is on trial for the murder of her boyfriend. Through a world of magical realism Fallon tries to take the audience through the memories in her mind; hoping that they will find her innocent. Using music, dance, video and other sensory stimulating theatrical devices; this one-woman show grapples with individual memories and what they mean.

"And in longing, she bites"
Devised, written, and featuring Sophie Greenspan '15

Follow an ensemble of women, guided by the eponymous character, as they transition from adolescence to adulthood and discover their bodies, their sexualities, and themselves along the way. A play about womanhood told with irreverent wit, poignancy, a little bit of awkwardness, and a dash of careful perception.

"I am the Seagull or Something"
Devised, written, and featuring Sarah Hines '15 and Aliza Sotsky '15

Two young actors struggle to find intimacy in the modern world. Through explorations of Chekov and modern rehearsal exercises they learn to create and question the way we relate to each other.

Written, composed, and directed by Charles Madison '15

Grace, a high school senior, wants to live a normal teenage life: go shopping, eat lunch with her friends, date boys. Only there's this problem: she hears voices. When the new guidance counselor in town pushes Grace to take chances, Grace struggles to take control of her life, to varied success. Can Grace live a normal life?

"No Exit"
By Jean-Paul Sartre
Featuring Barbara Rugg '15

“No Exit” is a one-act play about three people in hell, a circular hotel room. Manipulating each other and exploring their inner demons, flaws, and sins in life, they slowly realize that they are each other's tormentors and that there is no escape for the hell they have made for themselves.

Written and directed by Amanda Jane Stern '15 and Julian Seltzer '15

Worcester, Massachusetts, 2008: After almost 3-hours of an illegal interrogation, 16-year-old Nga Truong admitted to killing her 13-month-old son. This play is the true story of her confession, her time in prison, and the national outrage the story brought to Worcester Police Department. In this original documentary play, all the dialogue is taken from the historical record.

Categories: Arts, Student Life

Return to the BrandeisNOW homepage