Upon entering the Bonn Studio Theater, audience members searched for the best seat among the seats that wrapped around the stage on all four sides. Three original pieces written by students are performed on stage New Voices 2022a program that allowed students to oversee the production of plays they had written.
Scott T. Cummings, a professor in the theater department, directed all three plays: Appassionata written by Aidan O’Neill, MCAS ’23, Canals written by Katie Meade, MCAS ’22, and All the bad kids go to Mars written by Lily Telegdy, Lynch ’23. The show ran from February 18 to 20.
The plays appeared “in the round”, a stage configuration that allows the audience to be seated on all four sides of the stage. The format created an intimate environment that drew crowds.
“I believe this decision stems in part from my desire to restore the immediacy of live performance in the face of the divisions and isolation that the pandemic has imposed on us,” Cummings said in his letter to the show’s schedule.
In the first piece of the evening, Appassionata, the audience entered the dormitory of Alex (Zachary Kariotis, MCAS ’25) and Charlie (Jack Krukiel, Lynch ’25), two students navigating the world of tough classrooms, demanding extracurricular activities, and life-changing career decisions.
In the center of the room was a song called “Appassionata Queered”, written by Martin Ryan, MCAS ’22. Krukiel performed the moving piece after an intense moment in the show, when Charlie revealed to Alex their plans to change careers and pursue musical aspirations.
Other light-hearted songs balanced out the emotional composition, including B-52’s “Love Shack”. The closing scene, when Alex and Charlie danced around their bedroom to Cher’s “Strong Enough,” left audiences wondering what the future holds for the characters as the lights went black.
Canals tenderly explored a difficult topic as a teenager struggled with his mental health and suicidal thoughts. The play takes place in a guidance counselor’s office where two college students, Amy (Grace Cutler, MCAS ’24) and Mitchell (Zack Blair, MCAS ’25), learn about each other’s lives.
Comic relief from Ms. Drake (Emma Thompson, MCAS ’23), the hilarious and clearly unskilled guidance counselor, balanced out the show’s heavy themes.
After intermission, the stage transformed from a high school counselor’s office to a futuristic spaceship for the final play, All the Bad Kids go to Mars.
Lighting changes changed the mood, as a ring of flashing red lights descended from the ceiling. The lights accentuated the bright colors of the scenography with purple, hot pink and yellow rings on the floor of the spaceship, surrounded by five blue bean bag chairs. The scene came alive when Jane (Mary Zimmerman, MCAS ’25) and Dexter (Ryan Kruft, CSOM ’23) appeared on stage wearing bizarre spacesuits, accompanied by spaceship sound effects.
In the extraordinary comedy, five young delinquents learn that they have been banished to Mars after committing crimes on Earth and must populate their new planet. But it’s apparently hard to conceive on Mars, so passengers must pair up and conceive before landing. The whole operation is supervised by the M5 robot (Daniel Strickland, MCAS ’25).
The room was filled to the brim with comedic elements as the reluctant teenagers are given the Kama Sutra by M5. Marvin Gaye’s song “Let’s Get It On” serenaded the cast as a disco ball descended from the ceiling and the stage lights turned red. Viewers couldn’t hold back their laughter as M5 relentlessly encouraged teens to have sex with each other.
New Voices 2022 continued its tradition of staging creations written by students. At the end of the show, the crowd stood in applause congratulating the playwrights and actors for their performances.
Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff