September 24, 2018 | ° F

First annual festival an outlet for playwrights

About 100 people attended the Rutgers Playwriting Festival Thursday, where students put on five plays surrounding themes of love, sexuality, racism and anger management.

The festival was held in Scott Hall on the College Avenue campus and was sponsored by the University's English Writing Program.

The night began with "Stick Lips," a performance about a brother and sister putting on their mother's makeup. The sister discovers her brother's weakness for name-calling and threatens to tell his father and friends about his feminine nature.

She also reveals to her brother that his friends call him homophobic slurs behind his back.

Austin Begley, a Rutgers College junior, was one of the students whose play was chosen from about 50 submitted to the writing program.

Her play, "Bunny Rabbit," focused on two men receiving psychiatric help for their anger issues after they get into a heated argument over a parking spot.

"This play was my big project in my playwriting class. It took probably about two months, and afterward, there was an editing process: cutting, trimming, cleaning up," Begley said.

She said the play's title is significant because when the main character goes to a therapy session, he receives "bunny rabbit" as his calm word, which his therapist tells him to say whenever he feels stressed.

"I got this idea from a personal experience. I was parking in the Douglass deck, and I came out to find somebody parked so close to my car that I could not get in," Begley said. "So what I did was put it in an extreme situation where a guy with anger issues runs into the same problem."

"The other actors and I had a mess-load of exams and classes," said a "Bunny Rabbit" actor Aaron Boykin, a Rutgers College junior. "It's a lot, but when theater calls, we answer."

Sharae Allen, a Douglass College senior, wrote one of the love stories performed.

"My play is based on one of those profile commercials," Allen said. "But what if the person you were meant to be with wasn't online? What if they were right next to you?"

She said she got her idea from an experience at the University.

Allen said she saw a sign at a bus stop on which the words "Josh H. is single" and a phone number were written.

She said she began wondering who Josh was and why someone was trying to set him up.

"I am so nervous. This is my first play," Allen said. "A couple of my friends, who are passionate about acting, are in the play."

Pablo Albilal

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