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The Blue & Gray Press | November 19, 2017

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115 Directs

By ERIN HOESLY

After reading the comic script Schoolgirl Figure, junior Siobhan Dannaher decided to step out of her traditional actress role and try her hand at directing.

Schoolgirl Figure, a play written by Wendy MacLeod, is the next play to go in Studio 115, UMW’s only student-produced, black box theatre.

Known for its annual 24-hour play festival, Studio 115’s fifteen students stage and organize numerous productions and events throughout the academic year.

As a first-time director, Dannaher helms the production of Schoolgirl Figure, a dark comedy about a high school obsessed with appearances and eating disorders.

This theme was one reason Dannaher chose to direct the play in the studio.

“I just thought it was a very dark comedy, something different than what we had done before in the studio. Since we have such a strong female presence on campus it speaks to a lot of issues females face,” Dannaher said.

Studio 115 is open to many types of plays and themes, but Dannaher admits she did have some hesitation in proposing the show.

“It can be so offensive and reading the play is terribly offensive if you take it seriously,” she said. “But it’s a satire and it’s not meant to be taken seriously.”

Later in the semester, Studio 115 will produce The Santaland Diaries and Season’s Greetings, two one-man plays by humorist David Sedaris, and monologue Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol by Tom Mula.

Sophomore Taylor Williams will co-direct the productions.

Like Dannaher, Williams was drawn to the scripts he chose because of humor.

“We were looking for a holiday show and I felt that out of all the holiday shows I could have chosen, this one had the most bite to it, the most attitude of any I had seen.  And I was very very interested in an alternative Christmas show.  And Santaland Diaries and seasons greetings provide this.”

But the humor of script did bring certain reservations to Williams.

“My only worry was that the humor of the piece and the humanity of the piece wouldn’t get across.  [The show’s about] a very average person but you can’t lose site of the fact that it’s very funny but also very touching.”

Santaland Diaries and Season’s Greetings are Williams’ directorial debut in the studio.

Williams is also concerned about bringing Sedaris’ humor to the stage.

“[They are] very straight-faced.  It’s up to the audience to find the humor in it.”

This non-traditional Christmas production will run Dec. 5-6.