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Penn State Theatre Studies Festival Showcases Original Student Plays

In association with the School of Theatre, Penn State’s Theatre Studies B.A. Society is hosting a festival to showcase original productions from January 31 to February 6.

Frederick Miller, a senior theatre studies and comparative literature double-major, was one of the artists whose work was selected to be showcased as well as instrumental in the festival’s conception.

“The New Works Festival stemmed from a pre-COVID idea that Dr. Jeanmarie Higgins (Associate Professor, School of Theatre) and I had shared,” Miller said. “New plays, musicals, and other mediums of theatrical storytelling created by students would be shared.”

New Works 2022 sought submissions in early October. Then, a committee of faculty members chose the seven playwrights’ works that would be presented.

“Each playwright was paired with a faculty mentor and a student designer,” Miller said. “We even have a few faculty members joining in as actors.”

Here is a look at the seven original plays that are set to be presented over the course of the coming week:

‘Moving Day’ — By Frederick Miller

The first piece on display is “Moving Day” by Frederick Miller. This is not Miller’s first foray into original theatre, as in September, he starred in “Headspace,” a self-written full-length play.

“‘Moving Day’ follows a young man, as he returns to his grandmother’s house with his recently divorced father,” Miller said. “There, through a reunion with his childhood best friend and moments spent on the porch swing with his grandmother, he is able to come to terms with the ever-changing realities of his world.”

The show circles around the concepts of legacy, familial bonds, and the effects of the past.

“What I’ve tried to accomplish with “Moving Day” is that family is not necessarily who you share blood with, but who you share roots with,” Miller said.

“Moving Day” is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on January 31 in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.

‘Visitation’ — By Mac Miller

“Visitation” is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on February 1 at 7 p.m. in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.

‘Un Movie Moments’ — By Korey Grecek

Sophomore acting major Korey Grecek authored Un Movie Moments.

“‘Un Movie Moments’ follows seniors in high school, Sierra and Ali, the stars of their track team,” Grecek said. “One night, at an end-of-year party, they form an unexpected connection. The play follows the girls as they enter college and how their relationships and expectations shift as they grow through love together.”

Themes for this show include queer romance, race, transgenderism, and cherishing the ordinary.

“Un Movie Moments” is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on February 2 in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.

‘The Production Meeting’ — By Miriam Colvin

Miriam Colvin is a sophomore theatre studies major, and her original work, “The Production Meeting,” is set to be the fourth reading of New Works 2022.

“The Production Meeting” takes place in 1969 when a team of hardworking crew members shares their last day on a film set,” Colvin said. “When the ‘sound guy’ mysteriously goes missing, it leads the crew to shocking discoveries and confusing riddles. Through this, they’re forced to navigate difficult moral dilemmas with one of the most famous American conspiracy theories.”

Colvin’s show balances large-scale problems with normal work problems as well. Themes include greed, corruption, American exceptionalism, romance, and Cold War America in the 1960s.

“A lot of the themes you’ll see in the play relate to the political climate our country has faced even just the last few years,” Colvin said. “It touches a lot on how government can take advantage of low-class Americans.”

“The Production Meeting” is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on February 3 in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.

‘Capitaux: An Allegorical Nightmare’ — By Arushi Grover

“Capitaux: An Allegorical Nightmare” is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on February 4 in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.

‘Quit While I’m Ahead’ — By Melody Munitz

“Quit While I’m Ahead” is playwright Melody Munitz’s second original piece on display since December, when she debuted Lonely Together at the Downtown Theatre.

“It tells the story of five college students spending their spring break at a cabin with a hidden history,” Munitz said. “When old emotions resurface and secrets are spilled, stability is shattered. How much of our present are we really willing to risk for our past?”

Munitz’s original tackles topics like love, loss, lies, and how people handle history.

“My biggest wish for an audience member at the reading…is to be curious about something,” Munitz said. “I’m eager to learn what these characters and their choices conjure up for folks watching.”

“Quit While I’m Ahead” is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on February 5 in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.

‘All That Goes Unsaid’ — By David Reingold

David Reingold, a senior currently double-majoring in theatrical lighting design and theatre studies, authored the festival’s final original production, “All That Goes Unsaid.”

“Four Penn State students — Ruby, Mark, Xander, and Jen — are working on a group project for their English class,” Reingold said. “They find themselves transported through a series of dreamscapes that allow them to be honest with each other in a way that the real world doesn’t permit.”

“All That Goes Unsaid” discusses identity, aromanticism, asexuality, grief, healing, and autonomy.

“As someone who identifies as aromantic and asexual, addressing the lack of [aromantic/asexual] representation in theatre is one of the driving factors behind my writing,” Reingold said.

“All That Goes Unsaid” is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. on February 6 in Room 119 of the Theatre Building.


No reservation is required for audience members. With COVID-19 cases rising across campus, readings may be moved to Zoom with change notices posted to social media.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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