Cameron Noel

Third-year SIU Carbondale Master of Fine Arts playwriting students Cameron Noel (above) and Emily Klingensmith will showcase their works April 18-21 on campus. (Photos provided)

April 12, 2024

SIU School of Theater and Dance to highlight student playwrights’ work

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Theater and Dance will showcase the talents of graduate and undergraduate playwrights starting next week.

Third-year Master of Fine Arts playwriting students Emily Klingensmith, who goes by the penname e.k. doolin, and Cameron Noel, will each present their thesis works, April 18-21, on campus.

Noel’s play, “The Black Paradox,” is directed by Darryl K. Clark, associate professor, musical theater dance. A synopsis of the performance notes that Shemar, a high school student who is late for a field trip, “is trapped in a forbidden museum hall known as The Black Paradox where Black experiences collide.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 18-20 and 2 p.m. April 21 in the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater in the Communications Building, Room 1045.

emily-klingensmith-sm.jpgKlingensmith’s play, “Philoten: And Her Pattern of Painful Adventures,” is directed by Angela C. Shultz, assistant professor of practice in the School of Music. The play is a story of 16-year-old Philoten, who “knows exactly who she is not: she is not a leader, she is not a lover, she is not a healer, but she is afraid of who she might be: a destroyer, a traitor, a murderer. After everything she thought she understood burns to the ground, she seeks refuge in her mother’s holy shrine and discovers it holds secrets even she could not imagine.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. April 18-20 and 2 p.m. April 21 in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, north of Faner Hall and Sharp Museum.

Tickets are $10 apiece, and each show requires a ticket. Tickets are available from 12:30 to 4 p.m. today (April 12) and April 15-19 at the McLeod Ticket Box Office in the Communications Building, by calling 618-453-6000 or by visiting the School of Theater and Dance’s box office online.

H.D. Motyl, director of the School of Theater and Dance, notes both Klingensmith and Nolen “have been writing and rewriting in our very successful MFA Playwriting program for the past three years,” and these works are the culmination of their time at SIU Carbondale.

Big Muddy New Play Festival

Meanwhile, the works of aspiring playwrights is the focus of the 12th annual Big Muddy New Play Festival, April 19-21, in the Moe Theater. These students will hold staged readings of their new and evolving works. Admission to all of the readings is free and open to the public. The festival is produced by Jacob Juntunen, associate professor the School of Theater and Dance.

The schedule is:

April 19

  • 3:30 pm. — “A (Conventional) Found Family” by Alicia Utecht, graduate doctoral student, communication studies.

April 20

  • 10 a.m. — “Before They Fall” by Mikayla Delos-Santos, first-year MFA playwriting student, theater.
  • 1 p.m. — “Dinner at Asphodel” by M Kamara, first-year MFA playwriting student, theater.
  • 4 p.m. — “The Plastic Knife” by Aleksei J. Ellis, second-year MFA playwriting student, theater.

 April 21

  • 10 a.m. — “The Banana Slip,” by AJ Rice, senior, cinema and photography.

Ben Izzo, an agent at the Michael Moore Agency, will give talkbacks after Noel’s MFA show on April 19 and Klingensmith’s MFA show on April 20. He will also give a talkback after each of the April 20 readings. Izzo will present a discussion “What Agents Want: The path to finding an agent and successful partnership once you have” at 11 a.m. Friday, April 19, in Communications Building, Room 2005.

The New Play Festival is a collaborative event and receives funding from the New Play Lab registered student organization, the general student fee and the School of Theater and Dance.