Earlier this semester, a group of enterprising Swarthmore students wrote and staged in-person performances for a collection of 15 short plays, no small feat amid a pandemic that has shut down live theater on a global scale.
Marie Inniss ’23, a native of Dallas, Texas, directed the project, which used the prompt “how to kill your husband in seven days” to solicit stories from student playwrights. The quartet of Reid Mansur ’23, Daniel Oakes ’24, Rosie Palmieri ’24, and Neil Steinglass ’23 starred in the production’s three live, outdoor performances, staged in Scott Amphitheater while observing College policies around masks and social distancing.
Inniss initially believed that producing live theater was not feasible during the pandemic but wanted to see if creative solutions could be found under the unusual circumstances.
“Because of their masks, all the emotion conveyed had to be done through speech or through their eyes, which is a lot harder than using the entire face,” she says. “Staging was also a challenge: Everything had to be blocked so the actors were always 6 feet apart. I actually enjoyed it because it meant finding creative ways to portray closeness without anyone actually being close. It was cool to see choices the actors made within these parameters.”
“I learned to not be afraid to ask for help,” Inniss adds. “Having a big group of people working together to create art was amazing, especially during these isolating times. It taught us how to communicate and collaborate, which created a bond between us all.”
Other members of the production included stage manager Simon Herz ’23, assistant director Pablo Famodou ’23, producer Jules Lee-Zacheis ’24, and technical director Mason Hartley '24.
The student playwrights were Herz, Lee-Zacheis, Mansur, Steinglass, Nooria Ahmed ’22, Benelli Amosah ’24, Jaxson Freund ’23, Grace Griego ’22, Addie Klingbeil ’24, Paige Looney ’23 , Camryn Slosky ’22 , and Alex Witherspoon ’23.