By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

For the seventh year in a row, the SE theater department will produce its Festival of New Plays. 

This fall’s festival will run Nov. 7-10 and consist of five original works written by SE students, which will allow for a diverse night of theater, said SE speech and drama associate professor Drew Hampton.

“Additionally, each production is followed by a ‘talkback’ so the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions about the process of bringing these pieces to life,” he said.

Hampton will direct SE student Eric Johnson’s play, A Few Grapes.

“I was drawn to the grit of the play,” Hampton said, adding that he found the dialogue, the characters and their major conflict compelling.

The other four plays are Two Girls Talking on a Roof, Out at Night, Stumped and Out of Time. 

“Any connection of theme or narrative is unintentional, and in fact, we’re all excited to produce a night of theater that includes so many different styles, genres and moods,” Hampton said. 

SE drama adjunct instructor Megan Haratine will direct Two Girls Talking on a Roof by SE student Shelby Griffin and Out at Night by SE student Carlos Romero. 

Griffin’s play focuses on the nuances of relationships, Haratine said. 

“It is a play that will hopefully provide an empathetic response to these two sisters portrayed onstage who love one another but struggle with articulating their thoughts and feelings,” she said.

Out at Night is open to interpretation and allows for more collaboration in rehearsals, Haratine said.

“Some might consider it a commentary on social injustices and relevant issues surrounding privilege in its many forms — all done in an artistic and thought-provoking way,” she said. 

Former SE drama student Kaitlin McGehe will direct Stumped, and SE drama assistant professor Paul Fiorella will direct Out of Time, a sci-fi comedy written by SE student Cameron Bates. 

Fiorella said he prefers to direct comedies whenever he can. 

“There’s just something about making an audience smile and laugh,” he said. 

Out of Time follows three time agents from the future sent back to 1969 to apprehend someone “infecting” the timeline, Fiorella said. 

The plays were selected by a committee. Each play is 10 minutes, so audience members will get to experience a wide variety of styles and genres of theater within a short period of time, Haratine said. 

 “The 10-minute format also allows student playwrights an opportunity to experience their work going from page to stage, and hopefully they will be encouraged to keep writing or expanding their plays if they desire,” she said. 

Haratine said people should come to the unique evening in the theater to hear the voices of students and participate in the creation of new work.

“Hopefully, they will find themselves challenged, entertained and engaged,” she said. “There should be a little something for everyone.”

Festival of New Plays

Tickets are free for TCC students, faculty and staff,

$3 for non-TCC students and senior citizens and $6 for the general public. 

Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7-10 in ESEE 1316.