By Paige Shermis
In the musical Post Grad, Stage Femmes debut production, the end of college is only the beginning.
Post Grads script, as well as its music and lyrics, were written by Beth Hyland 13, who began the project while studying at the National Theater Institute in Connecticut last March, continued writing the second act during the summer, and finished the musical in January.
Post Grad focuses on a recent college graduate, Haley, and her two best friends [played by Sarah White 16 and Anna Yukevich 16], as they work at internships and try to figure out what to do with their lives. It was partially inspired by important friendships and relationships in my life, as well as by the uncertainty that Ive seen my friends face when trying to find a job and plan their lives after college, Hyland said.
The show stars Maureen Hoff 15 (who acted last semester in Balm in Gilead) as Haley, who holds an unpaid internship at a feminist pop-culture blog, and James Plunkett 13 as 22-year-old Nate.
[Hyland], the author, describes [Haley] as a mixture of Liz Lemon and Mary Tyler Moore, which I could not agree with more, Hoff said. Shes spunky and a little wacky in the best way possible.
Nate, Haleys romantic interest, is similarly silly in personality.
Nate is sort of a very earnest goon of a guy; [he] always seems to mean the best but is often awkward and just fumbles things sometimes. He really cares about his cat, Plunkett said of his character.
The 18-person cast has been rehearsing for a little over four weeks, according to director Emma Miller 15.
The rehearsal process has been a lot like what I imagine training to be an astronaut is like just whimsical and fun, [with] increasingly less gravity. Everyone involved has just come at the production with so much energy that it is hard to not get really into it during rehearsals, Plunkett said.
In addition to acting in the show, Plunkett also wrote one of the shows songs, Sailor Ballad.
Described by Hyland as a valentine to female friendship, Post Grad boasts themes that are relatable to both the Kenyon community and the mission of Stage Femmes.
[Post Grad] matches up perfectly with so many aims of Stage Femmes as an organization, Miller said. [Hyland] captures a feeling we all understand to be struggling to find our place as young adults moving out into the real world and she does so with spirit [and] heart.
Although this is Millers first Stage Femmes production, she is not new to directing at Kenyon.
This is the third show Ive directed at Kenyon. I directed Renegades Arsenic and Old Lace in the fall of my freshman year, and then last semester I directed an independent student production of Boeing Boeing, Miller said.
Hyland hopes that Post Grad will be the first of many musicals that she will write.
Over the summer, a friend from the National Theater Institute and I wrote a musical he wrote the book, I wrote the music and lyrics and were planning to revise and re-stage the show after we graduate, Hyland said.
Overall, this musical promises a picture of what may be to come for Kenyon students.
I think of it as the musical version of [the HBO show] Girls. But happier, less nudity and less weird sex, Hoff said. Its about the crazy anxiety and confusion that comes with graduating from college.
Post Grad will run on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 2:00 p.m in the Bolton Theater. Tickets can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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