Theatre students to perform original plays


Ashanti Thomas

The first play in the New Works Festival called “On Pointe,” features a young man who dances in ballet and struggles with having a disapproving father who judges him for being a man in ballet in the Theatre of Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Cam'ron Hardy, Campus Events Junior Editor

Editor’s Note: A correction was made for the name of the playwright of the play “Threesome.”

The New Works Festival is a four-day-long festival of multiple plays directed by current Eastern students and published by other directors.  

Nathaniel Revish, a senior theatre major, is directing two plays titled “On Pointe” and “Cruel Nature.” “On Pointe” was written by Alyssa Marino, and “Cruel Nature” was written by Jurnee Evans.  

Revish said “On Pointe” is about a young man who takes ballet as a hobby, and his father is not supportive of his decision, while his mother encourages his decision. The story also takes audience members through his experience and troubles.  

Revish said the message behind “On Pointe” is “not letting criticism hold you back.” 

“[It’s also about] not letting negative energy prevent you from being your true self [and not] having a negative outlook on life,” Revish said. 

“Cruel Nature” is about two young women where one of them is imprisoned and has a curse upon her where she has lost the ability to touch anyone around her, and her partner tries to free her of her curse, and they end up in another realm and try to reunite, Revish said.  

“The main message behind this play is to not let any object take over love,” Revish said.  

Revish hopes the audience takes away the meaning of achieving your goals from the two plays.

“What I hope audience members takes away from both of my plays is not only be open to new experiences and to new opportunities and options, [is the] message for ‘On Pointe,’ but for ‘Cruel Nature’ as well,” Revish said. “What they can take away from that is to not let anything hold them back to achieve their goal. No matter what sorts of struggles life hits them with, no matter how many punches are hitting them in the face, just to push through and really achieve their goal.” 

Emily Thorpe, a junior music performance major, performs as the character Maeryn in “Cruel Nature” during the dress rehearsal for the New Works Festival play Monday night in the Theatre of Doudna Fine Arts Center. (Ashanti Thomas)

Although he loves both of his plays equally, Revish said that “Cruel Nature” was his favorite play to work on due to the message and what he was allowed to put into the cast and crew of the play.  

“I love both my plays equally, don’t get it twisted, but “Cruel Nature,” I really do love the message more behind it and just the heart and soul that was put into it,” Revish said.  

Revish is proud of the work the casts have put in for both plays.

“I just want to say how extremely proud of my cast and everything that they’ve been a part of the last few weeks of just putting everything in,” Revish said. “Both my ‘On Point’ cast and my ‘Cruel Nature’ cast for just helping out, putting in the hours, really diving into these characters and really making this process really easy and really amazing for not only myself, but everyone else, involved.”   

Tasima Allen, a senior theatre arts major, is directing a play titled “Threesome.” The play is about a toxic masculine relationship where one man is in a relationship with two women and one of them does not like it but tolerates it. The playwright was Jackie Donaldson. 

Allen wants audience members to not stay in relationships like this.  

“If you’re in a toxic relationship, don’t stay in it,” Allen said. “Leave. I feel like this generation can really relate since a lot of people might be going through this.” 

Tasima Allen, a senior theatre major, directs the third play of New Works Festival called “Threesome” which is centered around a toxic relationship in the Theatre of Doudna Fine Arts Center. (Ashanti Thomas)

Allen said that the actor’s choices towards each other, lighting, sound, movements and costumes were some of the directorial choices she made that were different from the original play. 

Allen said that they want the actors to have fun and audience members to enjoy the play and learn a lesson from the play, since they might relate to some of the characters.

Latrelle Bright is a guest director for plays titled “A Rare Bird” and “Anniversary,” which were created by Bella Poynton.  

Bright describes both plays as “companion pieces.” 

“They are both kind of about freedom, but from different perspectives,” Bright said. “One kind of moves from the outside-in, and the other moves from the inside-out. They are definitely in the world of magical realism, so some pretty unbelievable things happen.” 

Bright also said that she see’s audience members “being able to identify with at least three of the characters. Maybe seeing themselves in those characters and hopes, dreams, and desires for something different and the courage to take the step and make the change for what you want.” 

 Bright said that what Poynton has written is “rich,” in response to what directorial changes she has made. 

“I didn’t have to add anything,” Bright said. “I think there is nuance between both couples [in ‘A Rare Bird’ and ‘Anniversary’]. Where I kind of focused was defining those nuances in people in relationships. Two people who don’t know each other and end up closer. They seem to be kind of close in the beginning and how that distance just keeps getting bigger and bigger throughout the scene.”

Bright also talks about what she wants audience members to know about the play in general.  

“The only things I want people to think about and appreciate is about young people making art and thanking them for coming out and supporting New Work,” Bright said.

Bright’s plays will be performed, but are not part of the student performances.  

The EIU department of Theatre puts on the New Works Festival that consists of four different short plays in the Theatre of Doudna Fine Arts Center. (Ashanti Thomas)

Raven Moore, a senior theatre arts major, is directing a play called “Vagabond.” The play was written by Ethan Homier.  

Moore says that she found the play interesting because “It touches base on how life works. It’s not always pretty and we have to find a way how to cope with those not-so-pretty moments.” 

 Moore explained the message behind the play.

 “The message behind the play that both the writer, and I talked about was no matter how alone you feel, or how messed up things get, do not give up,” Moore said. “There are going to be hard periods, but you can’t give up on hope. That if you let someone be there for you, they can help you pick up the pieces.”   

Moore said that the play “has been a very fun process.” 

“We have been rehearsing for two months, three days a week with two hours of rehearsal for each practice,” Moore said. 

During the process of bringing the play to life, Moore said when they were casting the characters, they ended up changing the gender of a character.

“This process was a little different to direct than a play I have done before due to us genderbending one of the main roles,” Moore said. “Our character, Jacklyn, was originally Jacob, but after auditions and finding who would fit the role the best, the author and I went back and gender-bent the character. So, a lot of our work during rehearsal went into finding the truth in this character that kept the truth of Jacob but also told the truth of Jacklyn. In every play, we have a costume/scenic crew and with six plays being done we have all worked together to make sure everything gets done for each play so we all have everything we need.”  

The performances will be held between Thursday and Sunday. Performances held between Thursday and Saturday will start at 7:30 p.m. and the performance taking place on Sunday will begin at 2:30 p.m.  

The event will be held in the Doudna Fine Arts Center in the Theatre. 


Drew Coffey contributed to this article.

Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].