The two new M.A. Plays are going up in Greer this Week! Get your tickets Here:
Here's a bit about the plays, the cast, and the process—in their own words:
THIS COULD BE...
by REBEKAH NASON
"This Could Be… follows Thea, a 20-something; we simultaneously see how her childhood affects her adulthood and we watch as her mother struggles with heartbreak. Along the way we meet Cooper, who quickly sees past Thea’s walls and falls in love with her. We also meet Lacey. Thea and Lacey form a friendship that leads Thea to realize she is not alone in her search for meaning and love. Though Thea and Lacey have different coping mechanisms, they both seek the same goal. Will they find the answers they’re looking for?"
HAPPILY EVER AFTER, PLEASE
by KAITLYN CHISHOLM
"Happily Ever After, Please begins with Mackenzie Coleman taking her first steps into adulthood. After breaking up with her boyfriend Kevin, she begins a new job and moves out of her parents' house. The job and apartment, however, do not give her the happiness she thought she would find. Her work friend, Anna, continually pressures her to go on dates to get over her recent breakup. Grudgingly, she agrees, but none of the guys prove to be what she's searching for. As Mackenzie tries to give herself a sense of identity apart from Kevin, she realizes that the love she's been searching for has been surrounding her all along."
SHELLEY REDLINGER, playing "THEA" in THIS COULD BE...
How would you describe the character you are portraying in Equinox Theatre?
Thea is introverted and extremely analytical. She is an idealistic dreamer. Thea is good at reading people but sometimes this does get her into trouble (we all know how trustworthy first impressions are.) Thea is quirky, independent, and extremely opinionated.
How do you personally relate to your character?
Thea's biggest desire is to be fully known and fully loved. I can definitely relate to that. I am also a little too opinionated for my own good and sometimes get my foot stuck in my mouth.
Why should people come see Equinox Theatre's production?
Both plays deal with the concept of love. I don't know a single soul who doesn't relate to the pursuit of love. This production will make you laugh, and cry, and it will move you. At the very least, Equinox Theatre will make you think.
ALEX VISCIONI, playing "FATHER" in THIS COULD BE... and BRIAN in HAPPILY EVER AFTER, PLEASE
You are performing a different character in both plays. How would you describe the characters you are portraying?
In This Could Be... I play the Father. As we've gone through the rehearsal process, he's evolved in my mind. Originally, I thought him to be very heartless and cruel with just a slight soft spot for his daughter; as we've continued to work on him, he's in a tough spot. He messed up big time, and he has to own up to it. The problem is he never really owns up to it in my mind. He loves his daughter, yes, but he never fully shows how much he loves her or could love her.
In Happily Ever After, Please, I play Brian, Mackenzie's co-worker. Brian is . . . well, Brian is unique. Very unique. He finds a lot of things funny that he shouldn't find funny. He doesn't care much for his work responsibilities; it's just a job that pays. He's all about fun, and that definition of fun can vary depending on what he's in the mood for. It could be good fun, or it could be bad fun; whatever the case, if fun is involved, Brian is there.
These plays have never been produced on stage before. What is the greatest lesson you've learned thus far from working on a brand new script?
Because the plays are completely new, there's no prior example to learn from. Tom Hiddleston didn't play Brian or Father in a previous production (although that would be highly entertaining to watch). You can try new things with your characters each time, and each time you're not wrong in what you're doing. So I'd say the biggest challenge that comes with this concept is pushing my own creativity rather than immediately thinking, "Oh, I have to do things this way each time."
Why does the Greenville community need to watch these plays be performed?
These plays will teach you a lot. I've learned so much not just from my characters but from the stories and other characters, as well. If you come, you will relate to somebody in the play. You'll learn what love shouldn't look like and, therefore, what love should look like. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll think. Cliché, yes, but 100% accurate.
NATHAN PITTACK, playing "Kevin" in HAPPILY EVER AFTER, PLEASE
These plays have never been produced on stage before. What is the greatest lesson you've learned thus far in working on a brand new script?
You have to be flexible! It’s not that at every rehearsal you’re handed a new script, but you have to learn to work with rearranged lines, new scenes, and experimental dialogue. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but after you embrace it, the whole process becomes exciting. You are getting to originate these characters for the first time onstage—that’s awesome and humbling at the same time.
Why does the Greenville community need to watch these plays be performed?
The Greenville area is a hub for college students, and these plays are dealing with several topics that hit that demographic close to home: learning full-fledged independence, navigating relationships, facing setbacks, and confronting the past are all real-life issues we face.
REBEKAH NASON, PLAYWRIGHT of THIS COULD BE..., playing "ANNA" in HAPPILY EVER AFTER, PLEASE
What made you want to write a play for Equinox Theatre to produce?
I’ve always loved writing. I was excited to work with Mr. Schwingle on stretching my writing skills and style. I was excited to work in collaboration with a team to create a play that would speak to audiences in a very deep way. Also, playwriting is always a growing experience for me as a person. I learned more about myself through this process than I thought it was possible to learn. Kaitlyn can attest to how emotionally draining it is. We had a lot of crying meltdowns at revelations about ourselves that would appear in the play that we hadn’t intended. But for every draining moment, there is an equally rewarding excitement as stories in your head become real and fleshed out. It was a fantastic and stretching opportunity!
What is the greatest lesson you have learned over the last two semesters about playwriting?
The biggest thing would probably be how much of myself as a playwright was infused into the script. I didn’t intend to write something about me, and obviously, the situations in the play are not my personal story. I set out to write about something I was passionate about and the characters unintentionally all have different pieces of me. I couldn’t see it until we got into rehearsals and John would be asking the actors questions about their characters—their answers shocked me. Things I had never written down, such as intention or thought process, were coming out, and it was like a giant mirror was being held up and I could see myself and my questions coming from the actors. I can’t fully explain what a weird feeling that is.
In a nutshell, what are you trying to communicate to the Greenville audience with your script?
I firmly believe that theatre is a wonderful tool to convey messages. But just as firmly, I believe that theatre shouldn’t be used as soapbox platforms or sermons. I believe that audiences are always smarter than we give them credit for. My goal in writing this play was not to spoon-feed questions or life lessons. I want people who see my play to be able to look at their own lives and really meditate on the hard questions. No matter who you are, if you cannot ask the hard questions, what is your faith really worth? Everyone needs to wrestle through finding meaning in life. My worldview is firmly rooted in Christ. He is the answer to the hole that pervades every human heart. We desperately cling to relationships or things to fill the void, but really the only answer is developing a personal relationship with the God who knows us inside and out. The better we know God as He is, the more clearly we see ourselves, and questions about self-worth and love fade away in the beauty of being loved unconditionally by our Savior.
JOHN MICHAEL COX, Director for both plays
How would you describe the directing process of a brand new script?
Very different but very rewarding. It's fascinating to be working on a script that's still growing and changing throughout the process. It can be challenging at times to adapt to new additions or cuts in the script, but it really enhances the flexibility of the process and helps the cast lean on one another even more to tell the story together. It's also a very cool experience to be able to collaborate directly with a playwright. In some productions the director's vision is top priority. But I've loved this process of fusing the director's vision into the playwrights' visions resulting in a fully collaborative process and production.
What are you trying to accomplish as a director within the parameters of these two plays?
A script becomes a play when it is performed. I see my job as director to be to create a safe working environment for the actors and then push those actors in directions that will not just realize the playwrights' scripts, but will also bring a certain life and nuance to these stories that the scripts can't provide on their own. I help the actors transform the scripts into living, breathing plays.
EMMA PAIT, production manager
What would you say to the audience to prepare them to watch these plays?
To the audience of the show I would say come with an open mind and look beneath the surface of the drama to find the underlying message of the plays.
Why should the Greenville community come see these plays?
The Greenville community should come see these plays because they are unique and thought provoking for anyone of any stage in life. If you come to the show, you can expect to experience the full emotional spectrum from heartbreak to side-stitching hilarity. These plays will both entertain you and perhaps cause you to take a deeper look into your heart and ask questions you may never have thought of before. You are guaranteed to walk away smiling and maybe a little more grateful for life's smallest blessings.