Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Annual spring showcase blossoms at Suffolk

Courtesy of Nile Scott Studios
Pictured from left to right, Sam Hackett (on piano), Matt Killion, Rama Hejazi, AJ Aversano, and Kate Carvalho performing in the show “In the Absence of Maeve McGuire”

The Suffolk University Theatre Department presented their annual Spring Showcase at the Sullivan Square Theatre from Feb. 9-12. 

The night opened with “A Big Joke,” written and directed by junior Bethany Cabral. The play follows Brianna, played by Ally Forrester, a plus size woman who embarks on a journey toward self love after her friends Lily (Isabel Blanco) and Amanda (Kayla Sessoms) convince her to download Tinder. 

After a very creative and humorous Tinder “speed-dating” segment, Brianna matches with James (Mateus Cezario) and the two end up on a date. 

The date does not go well, to say the least. Brianna walks out early, upset and angry. In her emotional monologue, she says, “I want to walk into a room and feel like there are no eyes on me.” 

Later in the play, Brianna makes a new friend, Charlotte, played by Madison Carr, and realizes that she does not have to change for others, she only needs to be enough for herself. “A Big Joke” tackles fatphobia, body issues and the struggles of online dating, but it is also a story of self acceptance and friendship.

The second show of the night was “In the Absence of Maeve McGuire” by junior Rose Beardmore. The play is about a boy named Max, played by Jacob Schindler, who has an infatuation with a children’s fantasy series. On his 18th birthday, he gets transported into the last book and has to find Maeve, played by Rama Hejazi, the missing main character, before the “plot cycle” is over.

In his own life, Max struggles with mental health, but once he finds himself in the fantasy world, he becomes confident and brave. With the help of Maeve’s friends, Charlie (Matt Killion) and Nina (Kate Carvalho), Max quickly comes to see that his favorite characters aren’t so two-dimensional. 

He discovers that Gwen (AJ Aversano), the girl Maeve is supposed to fight, is not actually her enemy but someone a lot more special to her. Max earned a few laughs from the audience after he mentioned seeing the pairing on “fan forums” but not thinking much of the subtext between them.  

The only solace Gwen has is that the author lets her die while holding hands with Maeve, but with that possibility gone, she is understandably panicking. However, with his presence, Max is somehow able to alter the storyline and save Maeve and Gwen from dying, allowing them to finally get the happy ending they deserve. 

Max realizes that Maeve and Gwen may not get a choice to live or die, but he does. It is clear by the end of the play the choice he makes to not only stay alive, but to live to see that he gets the ending he deserves.

When Beardmore began writing the story in the fall of 2021, they indicated in the script that they wanted a live instrumentalist to compose an original score, which is uncommon for a student showcase to have. However, freshman Sam Hackett reached out to Beardmore with some samples and ended up composing original pieces which he performed during the play. 

“In the Absence of Maeve McGuire” was an emotional, raw and brilliant performance, an ode to the fantasy series of our childhoods and a direct rebuttal to the saying, “don’t meet your heroes.” 

“[The play] is really about that kind of joy that is unique to youthfulness and the way we carry it into adulthood… it is a play about mental health and choosing to stay alive,” said Beardmore. 

The final show of the night, “Just Peachy” was written and directed by senior Vincent (Vinny) Douglass. “Just Peachy” follows a waitress (Hannah Kupson) and one of her patrons (Abby Lougee) who form an unexpected relationship through music and pie. 

Douglass’ original plan was to write a number of smaller scenes about different people in a diner, but he found himself coming back to two characters in particular. The characters, Harper and Mia, are loosely based on people in Douglass’ own life. 

Harper and Mia embody the typical “sunshine and grumpy” trope. Whereas Harper is the upbeat and larger than life waitress, Mia is the sulky and brooding diner patron. 

“I actually see a lot of myself in this character. She has a scene where she talks about how she wanted to be an actress and she moved to New York and it didn’t work so she came home to work in her mom’s diner,” said Kupson. “I work at a restaurant when I go home and I see a lot of myself in her and in that fear that when college is over, the theater life will just not work out for me and I’ll be stuck at the restaurant forever. But I also relate to the more positive parts of her, she tries to find joy in everything.” 

When Mia comes into the diner on a bad night, Harper is there to comfort her with her peach pie and 80’s tunes. After slices of cute banter and indisputable tension, Mia ends up confessing her feelings for Harper, the audience erupting in applause as the two finally kiss.  

“Shows I’ve worked on in the past have been not as lighthearted so it’s nice to have a super fun time,” said Douglass. “Sometimes a good thing really is just a good thing… allow yourself to enjoy nice things, because everyone deserves that warm feeling.” 

Audience members were sure to leave this year’s Spring Showcase with that warm feeling after seeing the brilliant performances and vulnerable writing come to life.

Follow Julie on Twitter @writerinthealps

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Annual spring showcase blossoms at Suffolk