New Student Theatre at SFA

Poster by: Paige Farley 

This semester I had the amazing opportunity to take a New Play Development class as a writer. When registering and, after talking to the professor, I didn’t really know what that meant other than the fact that over the course of the semester I would write a play and at the end it would be put on. That seemed magical to me. I’d never written more than a ten-minute play in my life, and now I’d get a chance to do something even bigger and have it staged. 

Of course, it wasn’t magic. It was a lot of hard work and collaboration and writing and rewriting. The three writers got to hear the actors read our scenes just hours after we turned them in. It was so helpful because we got to hear what sounded natural, and where we needed to expand or shrink the material. The deadline also pushed me to think quick and rely on the characters to take me where they needed to go. Once my play was done, I got to sit back and let my director take control. It was great to bounce ideas off each other as well as to see what the actors brought to their roles. Each writer had a director, and we shared five actors who are in all three shows. It was weird letting go of control, but I think the outcome is wonderful.

I talked to Senior Theatre Major Marie Phillips, the director of Friday’s show, about her thoughts on the class.


So Marie, what has been the most rewarding thing about directing in New Play Development?



I think working one on one with the playwright. It’s a very cool experience to work on something new, the start of something. 



What was the most challenging?



The most challenging thing is time constraint, but challenges are what help you grown.



Awesome. Now can you tell me what made you want to direct for this process as opposed to acting or writing?



I really like the idea of going into something fresh like this and I am really interested in what’s new with theatre and that this would be the best learning opportunity with how a play gets started and how a play gets put on. I’m very much not a writer, but I admire writers a lot and I like to work with fresh ideas. Also as a director it’s my job to honor the playwrights work, and that’s easier when they’re their so I can keep in mind what to pay attention to in the future.


These three unique, brand new plays go up this week on Monday April 30, Wednesday May 2, and Friday May 4 in the Upstage Theatre of the Griffith Fine Arts building. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think you want to miss this.

Mickey May is a third year Creative Writing Major at SFASU. She loves dogs, improv, and board games (not necessarily in that order.)

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