UWF students travel to New York to reunite with playwright
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Three University of West Florida students will travel to New York for a staged reading of playwright Micheline Auger’s play, “Love 95 Times” on June 5.
The Farm Theater, a nonprofit organization in New York that seeks to support the development of artists by providing a supportive environment, collaborates annually with three universities to commission one emerging playwright to write a play.
In 2016, the Farm Theater chose UWF, the College of Brockport in New York and Centre College in Kentucky to commission a play by Auger. Last summer, professional actors, a director and dramaturge collaborated with Auger at a three-day Farm Theater workshop in New York for her play, “Your Wings Have Eyes.” She later changed the play’s title to “Love 95 Times.”
Auger traveled to UWF in the fall and collaborated with 29 students from the Kugelman Honors Program and the Department of Theatre, who produced her play for their Fall 2016 Seminar, Staging Gender. Dr. Gregory Lanier, director of the Honors Program, said students utilized their creativity and synthesized a tremendous amount of information to produce the play.
“It was a wonderful and in some ways, almost a perfect Honors seminar,” Lanier said. “It was a great opportunity to work with a New York playwright and have students on the ground doing something meaningful. It stretched the students in a lot of wonderful ways.”
The play, which was nominated for the prestigious David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, explores the terrain of gender and sexuality on a college campus.
UWF senior theatre major Tim Colee played the role of Nick in the UWF production and will read lines at Theaterlab, an artistic laboratory dedicated to the development of experimental theater works and live performance in New York. Colee will interact with professional actors such as two-time Tony Award nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega, who played the role of Mimi Marquez in the Broadway musical “Rent.”
“It’s exciting to be part of something as it’s being created and written,” Colee said. “Being able to see something tangible that you had a hand in making is going to be an amazing experience. Also, it’s an opportunity to meet influential people in the New York theater community and see how Micheline works. Perhaps it’ll be an opportunity to get noticed, make connections and hopefully find work.”
Senior theatre major Victoria O’Dell will be an assistant director for the staged reading. She will oversee choreography and advanced pieces. O’Dell served as assistant director and stage manager for the UWF production.
“When we did the play at UWF, I had a lot of direct contact with the playwright. I’m excited to go to New York and see her work,” O’Dell said.
Junior Abigail Megginson, a journalism and political science double major, will travel to New York to watch the staged reading and see how the play has progressed. Megginson filmed auditions and practices, conducted interviews and collaborated with other students to produce a nine-minute documentary for her Kugelman Honors seminar project.
“The core message of the documentary is these are students who are developing a play that is extremely relevant to student experiences on college campuses,” Megginson said. “Examining these issues adds value to our education.”