The Drama Lab

The Phillipian sat in on rehearsals of “Playwriting 101: The Rooftop Lesson,” and “He/She/It?” Playwriting 101: The Rooftop Lesson What would it be like to stop time, redo all mistakes and fine-tune your result until it is perfect? In “Playwriting 101: The Rooftop Lesson” by Rich Orloff, director Miranda Haymon ’12 leads three quirky characters through a story of learning and suicide. The “lesson format” of the play helps draw in the audience as they feel like a part of the DramaLab. “I think my actors do an excellent job in portraying the complexity of their characters,” Haymon said. “Although these personas seem like average people we could find in our Andover community, the audience uncovers the humorous abnormalities each character holds.” Cliff Brannan ’11 takes the role of the Teacher, a character who narrates the entire play, rewinding and replaying the scenario until the penultimate situation is set up. This clicking back and forth of the plot adds a casual air to the otherwise intense story line. Evan Eads ’12 plays the Jumper, a suicidal character that seeks attention, and Peter Heidrich ’11 plays the Good Samaritan. Between the stopping, forwarding and rewinding, the story line builds as the Good Samaritan tries to convince the Jumper from jumping off the ledge to commit suicide. Tension grows as the Jumper delves into the misfortunes of her past love life, but as she attempts to jump off again, the Good Samaritan stops her. The two proceed to get into a heated argument, but as the Teacher tries to freeze the scenario, he realizes that his “clicker” doesn’t work anymore. The play takes an unexpected turn at the end. Haymon hopes that the audience legitimately laughs out loud at the absurdity of the scenario that they have become a part of. “Hopefully they will be able to see the layers of the characters peel away with every line,” Haymon said. “The difficult part was making sure that the audience could understand the transformation of the Theater Classroom into a television screen from which the [audience] can learn from.” Haymon finds the DramaLab “absolutely hilarious” and expects the audience to even be able to take away some advice on what good playwriting is. He/She/It? Today’s visit to the student-packed Theater Classroom will include the weekly dose of romance and affection that so commonly frequents the small stage. “He/She/It?”, written by Jan Baross and directed by Sheiling Chia ’12 is a conflict filled with an emotional rollercoaster of drama. The two protagonists, He and She once were a happily married couple, but now their marriage is falling apart at the seams. They both want their own way, but one of them will need to sacrifice to keep the marriage together. She, played by Tina Su ’11 is a needy career woman who is afraid of losing her husband but sometimes finds it hard to compromise. Sam Oriach plays the role of He, a character who wants more than he can have. Underneath the confused affliction lies a hint of affection and endearing love that they both feel for each other. He wants to raise a child with another woman while still remaining She’s spouse. She just wants to make the relationship work, but runs into a slew of perplexing feelings along the way. Chia said, “I think that the most difficult aspect of this play is understanding the characters’ ever changing emotions and then being able to express them correctly.” Because of the lack of stage directions in the script, Chia was able to take creative liberties with the direction and motion of the actors’ lines. She put her own spin on the play, creating the most ridiculous situation for the two characters. “I think the audience will find the plot amusing. Even though most of us have not experienced marriage, it is easy to understand the absurdity of the situation.”