New Voices, New Stories: Student and Alumni Playwrights to Have Their Plays Performed This Week

Colleen Locke | December 03, 2014
Clockwise from top left: Cat Roberts, Stacy Randell, Fatima Teixeira, Rick Chason, Pete Riesenberg, and Joey Lawyer

Clockwise from top left: Cat Roberts, Stacy Randell, Fatima Teixeira, Rick Chason, Pete Riesenberg, and Joey Lawyer
Image by: Christian Arthur

Hearing their work aloud and gauging the audience reaction will give the playwrights a huge amount of information.

Staged Readings of Student Work are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Two years after the first student playwrights festival, there will once again be an opportunity for audiences to hear and watch plays written by current UMass Boston students and alumni.

For the first part of New Voices, New Stories: A Celebration of Student Playwrights, on Wednesday, December 3 and Thursday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. there will be staged readings of six short plays in the McCormack Theatre. Two fully produced new plays will be staged April 16-24, 2015.

Ginger Lazarus, a lecturer in performing arts who, along with Clifford Odle, is serving as dramaturg, says 17 students submitted a total of 23 plays. A reading committee selected the plays, and for the one-act plays, they also held interviews.

“As dramaturgs, we checked in with all of the playwrights for the readings and talked about what revisions they might like to make,” Lazarus said. “Some did not make any, some tweaked a line or two, and some made substantial changes. The readings themselves will be part of the process for these playwrights: hearing their work aloud and gauging the audience reaction will give them a huge amount of information.”

The plays that will be performed on Wednesday and Thursday are:

  • The Imagination Is Not a State by junior English and theatre arts major Rick Chason: A man's notion of reality crumbles after a sexual encounter challenges his perception of his own history.
  • Thoughts by junior theatre arts major Joey Lawyer: In this story of boy meets girl, the twist is that the two main characters are accompanied by their senses of Doubt and Curiosity.
  • To Do or Not to Be by 2013 public affairs alumna Stacy Randell: This personal drama of dealing with a life and the law asks audiences: when does helping someone you love pose the threat of hurting them?
  • That N****r’s Crazy by 2012 theatre arts alumnus Pete Riesenberg: Addressing the current conversation about race, white privilege, and Boston's own unique experience with race relations arising from the busing crisis of the 1970s, this play asks the question of whether a certain word can ever be used by a white man, even in the context of a Richard Pryor album title.
  • No F****ng Way by UMass Boston student Cat Roberts: Two people have stories to tell that may have more in common with one another than first appears.
  • The Call by senior English major Fatima Teixeira: A recent widow, Dana, is home alone and receives a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night. The caller, initially thought to be a complete stranger, turns out to be someone a lot more familiar with Dana's life than originally perceived. 

Riesenberg and Roberts will also have their one-act plays performed in April. Roberts’s play is an expansion of her short play with other variations on her theme. In Riesenberg’s one-act play, a transgender woman’s right to an inheritance is challenged.

The staged readings are free and open to the public. Tickets to the one-act plays will be $10 for students and $15 for the general public. Tickets will be available at

About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: new voices, new stories , performing arts , student playwrights festival , theater , theatre

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