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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Frumkin ‘12 debuts new play in Little Nourse Theater

<rleton can cross one more thing off its to-do list: hold the world premiere play of an award-winning writer.

This past weekend, Little Nourse Theater debuted Security, a new play written by Rebekah Frumkin ‘12. With four showings over the course of the weekend, students had the opportunity to come out and witness a fellow student’s newest endeavor.

Set in the early 1990s, the play featured Daniel Peck ’13 in the lead role of Jeff Bueltmann, Jacob Canfield ’12 as his roommate and mathematical mastermind Isaac Rivken, and Alexander Scott ’14 as his politically-connected and devious boss, Don Delphis. Security highlighted this group of excessively greedy men (save for Rivken), showcasing their quick rise, to business stardom and even quicker fall, a la Enron. It was co-directed by Johanna Fierke ’12 and Camille Hommeyer ’12.

Frumkin is no stranger to the literary world, having been published in “Best American Nonrequired Reading” and “McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,” among others. She has also been through the Carleton independent theater circuit, participating in student One Acts and the 24-Hour Show during her first two years at Carleton. But she’s the first to admit that even she didn’t quite know how to approach the captivating story that was loosely based on the real-life events of Enron.

Frumkin says that her AP Economics teacher in high school provided the initial spark of inspiration. After viewing “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” an award-winning documentary about the Enron business scandal, Frumkin was drawn to how well the story works. “[It is] a Sophoclean tragedy. It’s guys in suits who you’re trusting with millions of dollars. They lose everything, and it’s all due to hubris,” she said.

Frumkin began to write a screenplay after her senior year of high school involving the major faces of Enron, only to find that the “screenplay made no sense.”

The screenplay remained a work-in-progress for the better part of three years, as it was revisited and revised multiple times. Eventually, the version of Security that was reproduced in Little Nourse Theater came together during winter break, and its intended medium was changed from the screen to the stage. Says Frumkin, “It’s not an Enron-specific story anymore, but it’s inspired by it.”

In theatre, it’s somewhat rare to have the playwright sit in on rehearsals and read-throughs, yet Frumkin was welcomed to the practices and was able to lend the actors and directors a hand in any capacity. In addition to working with the actors by “retooling the dialogue” to fit the tone of the play and remain consistent with her characters, Frumkin helped with scene work, publicity, and costumes.

Given the amount of time that she worked on the play, Frumkin admits that, “It was hard for me to let go of it and let it be somebody else’s baby.” In the end, she was beyond impressed with what Fierke, Hommeyer, and the rest of the cast did with it. “[The directors] were very talented at making it a reality,” she said.

Next, Frumkin says, “I want to see what more people think of Security.” In the coming months, this will involve workshopping the script and potentially shopping it around before seeing where it finally lands. For those who worry that they weren’t able to see this dark, new play during its first run, Security is far from being completed.

 Likewise, Frumkin is just getting started as a playwright. But she promises, “if I do more theater at Carleton, it will definitely be more upbeat.”

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