Student works come to life at playwright showcase

Alexx Rouse watched as two of her peers took the outdoor stage on the plaza to perform an excerpt from a play she’d written over the course of the semester.

“It’s a snippet from “Caverns,” which is a play I’ve been working on for the past four months,” the junior BFA playwright said. “It’s set in Appalachia in an ambiguous time frame.”

Rouse’s excerpt was one of several plays featured during the playwriting showcase of the thirteenth annual Celebration of Student Research and Creativity. Actors performed parts of plays on the plaza Wednesday written by Rouse as well as BFA playwright students Robert Macke and Landon Horton.

Some actors held scripts while others memorized entire monologues and held props. Performing the piece helps the playwright see how their play is working, according to Brian Robertson, performance lecturer in the department of theatre and dance.

“We try to make it as alive as possible,” Robertson said. “You’ll see everything from comedy to dramatic work. These are all excerpts from plays that they’re currently working on from shows or selections that they’d like to hear out loud today.

BFA student Zach Johnson said he and student Tony Newton were asked a few days before to perform part of Rouse’s “Caverns.”

“In the scene we’re doing, I’m Milo, [Newton is] Jesse, and his wife, Belle, won’t talk for the past year because she saw her best friend killed in front of her,” Johnson said. “She’s going into a fit, and I just calmed her down and he’s.. he’s upset because I calmed her down faster than anyone has before.”

Other plays portrayed the struggle of good and evil, a student’s journey through college and a comedy about a boy’s pet rock dying.