Festifall Event Celebrates Student Playwriting

By Cassandra Sottile
Elm Staff Writer

Thursday is underground theater night at Washington College.

In the basement of Middle Hall on Nov. 2, a group of students came together to watch staged readings of plays written by their peers, in an event called Festifall.

Students heard a variety of short plays— a birthday celebration gone comically wrong in “La Comedia Dramática de la Oficina” by junior Katie Peacock, a young boy running away to join the circus in “Runaway with the Show” by junior Collin Higgins, an absurdist play entitled “That’s Absurd” in which a girl meets her own god by sophomore Mairin Corasaniti, and a tense father-son relationship at game seven in the World Series in “Game Seven” by senior Joseph Swit.  

From left, freshmen Will Rotscch, Danny Palmatary, Victoria Gill, sophomore Samina Soin-Voshell, and senior Megan Iacona perform a stage reading of a play written by a WC student in the basement of Middle Hall on Thursday, Nov. 2.
From left, freshmen Will Rotscch, Danny Palmatary, Victoria Gill, sophomore Samina Soin-Voshell, and senior Megan Iacona perform a stage reading of a play written by a WC student in the basement of Middle Hall on Thursday, Nov. 2.

“I think stage reading is such a cool medium, and I loved hearing the different scripts through that medium,” Corasaniti said.

Senior Heidi Butler said, “All the scenes were really great while being very different from each other, and showed the fantastic range of talent we have here at WC. It was a really unique thing and fun way to spend the night.”

Cast member Megan Iacona, senior, said, “This was a very exciting experience. I volunteered to read tonight and was given set characters and motivations.”

Among the other cast members for the plays were freshmen Victoria Gill, Will Rotsch, Danny Palmatary, and sophomore Samina Soin-Voshell.

The event was sponsored by the March Hare Theatre Company, a new pop-up theater company formed by WC students.

Junior Adam Ashcraft, artistic director of the company, was director for the student playwriting night, Festifall.  Peacock, production manager for the company, retained her role for Festifall, and junior Rachel Treglia, company manager, was stage manager for the night.

“March Hare Theatre Company is our way of bringing more opportunities for all who like theater to create and add to a community to give back and explore the art whenever they want, and learn through other avenues besides the SCEs in a full season of theater,” Ashcraft said.

March Hare performed its first reading in the Rose O’Neill Literary House earlier in the semester. Its third reading, “Blackbird,” an hour-and-a-half-long play, will be on Dec. 7, location to be determined.

The March Hare Theatre Company is looking for more directors, actors, and playwrights to work with. Calls will be put out for scripts when more student playwriting events are planned.

Corasaniti said, “I was just chatting with Ashcraft one day and he was telling me about starting the new theater group, so I mentioned I had written a one-act, and he asked me to send it to him.”

Any other students who wish to be put on lists for calls when they are sent out can contact Ashcraft at aashcraft2@washcoll.edu.

“Playwrights have minimal opportunities on campus, so we are looking for more [playwrights], and want to encourage them to pick up their craft and explore in a new setting,” Ashcraft said.

The company has no faculty involved, but has faculty member support, which provides more room for students to grow, according to Ashcraft.

“Theater is an art. Painters, when they want to paint, can just pick up their easels and paper. But when theater students want to practice their craft, they need space, production equipment, and opportunity— which is what we help them with,” Ashcraft said.

March Hare provides theater opportunities and other types of shows in between improvisational theater and a full academic setting, like professor shows or senior theses.

“It gives more room to play around with multiple characters, which is not the usual thing in a theatre setting,” Soin-Voshell said.

The company is planning more events, including student playwriting, next semester.

Palmatary said, “It’s nice to be involved in a smaller scale theater with intimacy that can add that element more so than a full-scale production.”

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