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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Umass Boston Theater Class to Produce the Next Oscar Wilde?

This is a one of a kind UMB production, completely student created from the script to the set.  It is a work of Devised Theater, a way of producing a play using alternate literary works like poems and novels.

Six aspiring playwrights developed a script out of short stories and poems by 1930’s author Dorothy Parker. Jillian Butler was one of the writers involved in the adaptation, an experience that taught her collaboration and guided the expansion of her creative writing skills.

“The process of creating this play was a little hectic and different. Actors were chosen before we even developed an idea, never mind a script. Ideas were bounced around in class and rehearsals; from these ideas the playwright group began to develop characters and the script. I enjoyed being able to hear everybody’s ideas and combining them all into my own written form.  This class was a catalyst for me as a creative writer. It also forced me to learn ‘collaboration’ and that is a good thing.  I learned a lot about process and what can come from hard work.”

Since this is an original work there were no tried and true costume and set designs to work with. The students had the freedom to create them entirely from their own imaginations.  This can mean a lot of work, especially since the play is set in the past and in a number of different settings.

The story takes place during prohibition (the 1920’s and early 1930’s), so it took the work of seven dramaturges to make sure the costumes and vocabulary were accurate to the era.

They play features four musical numbers, all of which were choreographed by UMB students.

Mike O’Tool is a theater major and the Assistant Director of Wit? Or Without You. He is involved in all aspects of the play and stated that one of the hardest parts of the process is getting people to fill in the small roles that make up the big picture.

“[It’s difficult to] get people to sort of step down, out of the spot light. Being a cog is an important piece of a larger project. This is an ensemble piece that depends on the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, so it’s not necessarily about being a breakout star but about becoming part of a collective work, with the goal of helping make that collective product be as beautiful as possible.”

What’s the play about? Director Professor Advisor Carrie Ann Quinn sums it up neatly as the interactions between sexes and all the confusion that ensues. “It is about love, relationships, and dishonesty issues concerning men and women and how they screw each other up.”

Based on what I have seen in rehearsals, it is going to be a very witty and dramatic bit of theater. The play is scheduled to open on Wednesday, April 14th, at 7 p.m. and run until Saturday at the McCormack Theater. Make sure to go see it and support the artistic endeavors of your fellow students.

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011