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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

ETB presents two new student-written plays: Not about Victory and Therapy

<rleton’s Experimental Theater Board (ETB) is doing something new this Friday night, staying true to its name and experimenting with a student-written play festival.

On Friday at 8 p.m., two student-written plays, by Marshall Ma ’19 and Charlie Imhoff ’17, will be workshopped. The plays are works in progress and will be read on stage by a group of student actors.

“Workshopping for the festival has been a quicker, more efficient process than working on an ETB show. Rehearsals are important, but many of the pieces of production can be stripped away,” explained Jenan Jacobson ’17, who assisted in preparing the actors for the festival. “Actors can prioritize their connection with the script without having to fear the process of memorization, and work on understanding the minutiae of the text. In a sense, the rehearsal never moves beyond table work, which is a portion of time dedicated to these textual explorations during preparation for an ETB show.”

Mairead Koehler ’17, co-president of the ETB board, was a major force in getting the festival to happen.

“Every spring ETB has the 24 hour show, and that’s sort of the only event that ETB does that’s consistent every single year that a lot of new people get involved,” said Koehler. “We wanted to have more events throughout the year to get new people involved. Also, last year I was taking a playwriting class, and just realized how many people are interested in it. ETB is trying to do more to get new actors, new directors, and new playwrights.”

One of the featured student playwrights, Marshall Ma ’19, felt inspired to transform one of his short stories for a creative writing course into a play for this festival, titled Not about Victory.

“I said, ‘You know, why not? I’ll just make the story into a play.’ It’s my first play as well,” reflected Ma. “I didn’t know how to start at the beginning, but I talked to so many of my friends, pulled them out of their vacations and said ‘Look at my play, can you help me and read it?’ So that’s how it came into place. It was rather random ideas.”

Ma’s play was inspired by both the Siege of Serjevo, a historical event, and a favorite video game, This War of Mine.

“It is the perspective toward war. It could be related to many current media things,” said Ma. “People just view war as ‘We want to win, we want to attack places.’ It makes the war very remote. If it happens in real life, it sucks way more than you think. There’s a line in the game saying: for soldiers, war is about victory, but for civilians, it is about getting through.”

Imhoff’s play, Therapy, “is a comedy about two lovebirds whom have died. They need to complete mandatory couple’s therapy so they won’t cause any problems once admitted into Heaven,” said Imhoff. “They play improv games, dance out their emotions and discuss a man named Frank (who is kinda a jerk).”

Imhoff took a playwriting course at Carleton last year and enjoyed the creative class.

“I really appreciated the ability to take some time during the day to jot down ideas and work with some scenes,” said Imhoff. “I’ve always liked writing stories, and writing plays is comforting in that somebody might actually put some work into producing it, but it’s not like a film where you need a team of 50 people and a small fortune to make something watchable.”

Koehler and Jacobson both expressed that this festival is an invitation. “Sometimes people feel a bit that the theater community is hard to break into and with a small department – this year there are seven theater majors, and that is unheard of,” said Koehler.

“I hope that people attending the festival understand how open the theater is, and how everyone is welcome to try out new things together,” said Jacobson. “The festival is an opportunity that we want people to take advantage of.”

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