Interview: Fall Showcase
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Hello lovely readers! As many of you hopefully know, this weekend is the Suffolk student showcase. That’s when Suffolk University students perform in student written and directed shows. This semester the three shows being performed are: The Convicted Profit: The Trial of Warren Jeffs, by Linnea Rose, The Lost Queen, written and directed by Kelsey Endter, and Bethena, written by George Brant and directed by Aria Sergany. We sat down with writer and director Linnea Rose to hear her thoughts on writing a show, and the showcase process.
Now what first inspired you to write this play?
I have always been fascinated by people, as a whole, and why they act how they act and believe what they believe. The study of cult mentality is a huge interest of mine. Warren Jeffs is the epitome of religious dictator. I am extremely intrigued by him and his religion. Incarcerated for life and the man is still controlling his community. Not only is he a religious zealot but as he is also known for human trafficking. He has sent multiple girls out of the country to work, be wed, or be killed.
This play is based off of true events, did that present any unique challenges while writing it?
When I was writing “The Convicted Prophet” I wanted to stay as true to the story as I could out of respect for those involved, both directly and indirectly. The dramatization is seen more in the characters of the Young Girls as opposed to the court room.
What was your favorite part about writing this play? About directing it?
-My favorite part of writing this play was all the research I got to do in pre-production. The Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) is one of the most interesting areas of my research, in my opinion. When directing it, the most important aspect to me was maintaining the integrity of the true events without losing it too much in the dramatization. There is rarely a point where no less than eight people are on stage at a time. Staging that in allotted space was a great challenge as a director and making that work, at least in my opinion, makes me proud of not just myself but my cast as well.
What were you looking for in the actors that auditioned for you?
With character of Warren Jeffs I was in search of an actor who could transform, mesmerize and captivate an audience. I was overjoyed when I found that in Matt Bittner. He is a sinister, egotistical, charismatic character. With one note at his audition, Bittner became that character. With the Young Girls, I was hoping to find characters who represented innocence who had extreme chemistry on stage. Members of the FLDS live in a tight-knit community therefore are extremely close with one another. The Young Girls are the Greek chorus. They are Warren Jeff’s mouthpiece.
What’s been your favorite memory from the rehearsal process?
My favorite memory of the rehearsal process was the opportunity to work closely with such a talented group of young artists, not only my cast but others casts and the crew as well. Every member of my cast was able to take notes and apply them to their individual characters which benefits the production as a whole. Each of them were able to bring their own personality into the characters to create a character that is the combination of mine and theirs. That is the glory of an original work.
What’s one thing you hope people take away from seeing your show?
This play was written with the intent to educate those who do not know anything about the situation regarding the FLDS. Through the production process, I wanted to raise awareness of the issued regarding the FLDS. Warren Jeffs used religion as a blanket to disguise the abuse. By highlighting these issues I hope spread the passion that I share to not only Boston, but hopefully the nation.
Describe this showcase in one word.