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Stained Glass Shattered

Stained Glass Shattered has been a project brewing in my mind for the past seven years. Having the opportunity to write a full-length play, produce and direct a staged reading, and continue development through talk-backs has been incredibly rewarding. This process has solidified my aspirations to continue writing, both in the development of this play and in other theatrical avenues, as well as directing and even casting. Every second of the rehearsal process and performance stage were rewarding and truly an honor. I cannot express my gratitude or my joy well enough. 

I look forward to the next steps, the ways that this play continues to grow, and where it goes next. 

Rehearsal photos by Rachel Marsden

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Twelve Olympians

Working on the Loyola Second Stage project Twelve Olympians has been an absolutely incredible experience. I have learned so much about being a writer, a performer, and a collaborator over the course of the Fall 2021 semester. This is the first creative writing/devising project that I have been involved with at Loyola, and I've enjoyed every second of it. Everyone in the ensemble was so immensely creative and talented, and it was a joy to work with them all as we created our performance pieces. Twelve Olympians is a series of 12 solo performance pieces from the perspective of a Greek olympian god; each actor also wrote their respective performance. I wrote as and portrayed Zeus, the king of the gods, in the project. The writing process was extremely exciting but also very nerve-wracking. We did a number of writing workshops at the beginning of the semester that offered us new ways of thinking about writing and approaching a character; I learned about new styles in my own writing that I was pleased to find within myself. Later throughout the semester, cast members would present their written drafts to the rest of the team, and we would offer critiques and praises to one another, as well as hearing them from our creator/director, Grey Smith. I really enjoyed hearing what people liked as well as any suggestions that they had for my writing. It was also really fun to be able to offer those sorts of ideas and praises to my cast mates; all of them created very impressive pieces of writing and it was a joy to watch all of them work. 

With the king of the gods, Zeus himself, I was really interested in exploring the dynamics between him and the rest of the Olympian gods, who were all related to him in one way or another (excepting Aphrodite, depending on what myth is being looked at), as well as his relationship to humanity. Zeus is a heavily flawed character and not one that I wanted to make very likable or sympathetic. Greek myth depicts him as an abuser, a tyrant, and capable of extreme violence and cruelty; he has very few redeeming qualities. His one redeeming quality, however, is that of his epithet Xenios, who is known as the bringer and patron of hospitality. Zeus Xenios encourages people to welcome others into their homes, treat strangers with kindness and offer them shelter. I chose to make my performance piece a conversation between Zeus Xenios and Zeus Olympios, the epithet representing the king of the gods. Xenios acts as a sort of conscience, a voice of reason and protest to the cruelty brought about by Olympios. The two argue throughout the piece, leading to a large outburst from Olympios. My first draft focused quite a bit on the relationship between Zeus and humanity, with a few small mentions of his dynamics with the other gods. After seeing other people's drafts, however, I realized that a lot of the other gods had things to say about Zeus in their own performance pieces. It felt right for me to shift my focus to being more about the other gods, and how Zeus feels about their opinions of him. I was able to keep a few mentions of humanity in my writing, which I am very pleased about, but overall the piece focuses on Zeus' relationships with all of his children and siblings. A lot of work went into this piece, but I enjoyed every second of it and am very proud of the work I have done. It was a blast to explore this character and create a meaningful piece of writing to tell a very particular story. 

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