New Stages 33, the playwriting festival written, directed and performed by the Shaker Theatre Arts Department, will address some timely and tough issues.
New Stages is the product of theatre students who take Playwriting, an elective taught by Christine McBurney. In the class, students create plays inspired by their inner thoughts. Then, students in the theatre program review the scripts until there are six plays ready to be performed. Auditions are held to cast the shows, and about two weeks of rehearsals result in five performances and a student preview. All performances are in Stage 3, the school’s small, black-box theater space located below the large auditorium.
“I believe that the plays come from the students and offer a window into what may be on their minds, even in the comedies,” said McBurney. “I think there are two [plays] that will really strike people.”
“One has to do with high stakes learning and the other has to do with a topic that we don’t hear much about: self-harm,” she said.
Senior Alyssa Jacobs directs “Dysfunctional,” written by senior Dayvon Rose. “I hope to teach [the audience] that even though your family’s weird, it’s always OK to open up with them about your relationship,” she said.
New Stages sells out annually and brings in the most income the Shaker Theatre Department earns from a performance. The production will occur March 18, 19 and 21 at 7 p.m. and March 20 at 7 and 9:15 p.m.
“New Stages is so popular because, basically, this is the only production that’s not really the Theatre Department; it’s the students,” Jacobs said.
Freshman Anna Walker plays Sarah in “Dysfunctional.”
“Sarah is very confident and rather condescending. She is the future first female president,” said Walker. “I feel like Sarah honestly sends across the message that it’s OK to be yourself.”