Einstein, Painters, and Armadillos: Annual Student Playwright Festival Features Student-Written Plays

Slamming his hands on the table, Jack Twomey ’17, playing 30-year-old Albert Einstein, yelled in frustration at Sydney Olney ’18, playing Einstein’s wife, Mileva, who backed away and stormed off stage. Audience members of the Student Playwright Festival watched on as the story of Einstein and his personal relationships unraveled in the play “Albert,” written by Aidan Driscoll ’17 and directed by Jack Lawlor ’17.

“I liked the [play] because it showed the passage through time, and I also liked how you were able to see the characters grow up. It was a really great play for learning about familial relationships and also how people are kind of the apples that have fallen far from the tree, and I thought [the play] was a good example of that,” said Sarah Stack ’19, an audience member.

Driscoll’s play was one of three during the annual event featuring entirely student-written plays, unlike other Drama Labs. The event was hosted by the Drama Lab Producers — Hannah Berkowitz ’17, Janet Conklin ’17, and Kalina Ko ’17 — this past Friday in the Theatre Classroom. After reading many works of Shakespeare in his English class, Driscoll decided to write this play on Einstein to combine his passion for physics and his interest in playwriting.

“In the same way that creative writing is fun, I think [playwriting is] just a good time to be able to create characters, worlds and stories, or adapt stories and worlds… And when you’re writing something, like the play I wrote, which is based off a true story, you’re also able to learn a lot about history and really look into certain figures from history,” said Driscoll.

Bennett Sherr ’17 wrote student-performed play called “Modern Art,” which was directed by Sam Katz ’19. Under a dim, red light, the play began with Laura Mahaniah ’20, playing a painter, working on a live painting, played by Zari Cordova-Potter ’20. The play ended with Mahaniah courageously asking out the security guard, played by Logan McLennan ’19, on a date.

“I enjoy playwriting because it allows me the opportunity to create my own world as well as in some cases, deal with problems that I might be having in the real world. This play was about my diagnosis with Multiple Hereditary Exostoses when I was seven and how I’ve dealt with that since then… [For this play], I wanted something light-hearted that would make the audience laugh,” said Sherr.

The final play of the night was titled “Lockdown,” written by Theo Perez ’16. Directed by Ali Nunes ’17, the cast played various dorm residents worried about getting caught with drugs. One of the dorm residents lost her pet armadillo during the dorm search and frantically searched for it. In the end, the dorm residents found the armadillo, realized it had eaten all the hidden drugs, and celebrated their luck.

“I liked the [play about drugs] because it I guess took place in Andover so everyone could relate with some of the stuff. Just the fact that the students wrote them and they put that much time [was really interesting]. I mean, they were really good plays,” said Henry Crater ’20, an audience member.