Fall showcase returns to Sullivan Theatre

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The Sullivan Studio Theater will be home to the Suffolk University Theatre Department’s Fall Showcase this weekend. It will present three one-act plays written and directed by Suffolk students, highlighting the students’ skills and creativity in theater.

This year’s showcase will feature “Area 51” written and directed by senior history and theatre major Courtney Langlais, “Play” written and directed by senior theatre major Kaleigh Ryan and “In the Shadows” written and directed by senior theatre arts major Gabriella Quigley.

Quigley’s “In the Shadows” has a 12-person cast and a run time of approximately 30 minutes. In an interview with The Suffolk Journal, she described her show as a “reflection of each of the five stages of grief” through Dana, a woman that has lost her father, and the character of Grief.

Quigley wrote “In the Shadows” based on her own experience of her father’s death in 2013 from lung cancer. She said it was difficult to write this piece because of the vulnerability of sharing it with others.

This is also her first time writing a one-act show and she sees this opportunity as her “big directorial debut” that she would not have been possible without the help of her team and actors. She says that they all work well together and have grown to love each other through this process, making rehearsals and her directorial duties feel much easier.

Langlais’ play  “Area 51” is an approximately 26-minute show where three podcasters (Marshall, Amber and Gavin) set out to find a missing woman at Area 51 and instead encounter extra-terrestrials. Langlais’ love for true crime podcasts influenced her scriptwriting, but her main inspiration came from her father. He loves anything to do with aliens, such as the TV show “Ancient Aliens,” so she decided to combine their interests in “Area 51.”

This is Langlais’ first time writing a one act play, but she has had experience directing through her classes at Suffolk and a summer internship with the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company where she was the assistant director for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Langlais said she wants her actors and directing style to be “more than just me talking at them, more of a collaborative process.” The student director said her enthusiastic cast members would show up to rehearsals ready and with new ideas for the show and that made the process easier and better for everyone involved.

Langlais’ show is set in different locations, like the desert. The passage of time is another component of her play, so she decided to have no set. With her show being in the middle of the showcase, she felt props would be easier than trying to get set pieces on and off.

“It’s an interesting challenge for the actors to take the bare stage and do something with it,” Langlais said.

Ryan described “Play” as an “absurdist comedy, more so a comedy, about self-identity and what it means to be art” and breaking through the expectations placed on people and pieces of art both from the general world and artistic communities, to be a certain way.

Ryan’s play was originally written as a three-person scene for a class that evolved over time. She was interested in the concept and saw how she could expand on it, adding that her “own internal chaos inspired it.”

As she describes herself and her show as chaotic, she brings that into rehearsals by having a care-free environment and incorporating the nine actors’ own emotions towards themselves, each other and the space into the characters, which include the titular character Play and representations of different genres of theatre, like musicals and comedy.

The Fall Showcase will take place at the Sullivan Studio Theatre from Oct. 10 to 13. Tickets are limited, but they are free and may be reserved online.

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