On the first day of her Devising Theatre class last spring, when Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance Jessie Mills proposed the idea of developing a student-produced play as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, five of her students leapt at the opportunity. The festival—an open-access celebration of theatre in L.A.—brings hundreds of new plays to professional theatres each summer. And so, for one week in June at the Broadwater Black Box theatre, Ally Center ’21, Roei Cohen ’21, Alex Collado ’20, Noah Plasse ’21 and Abdullah Shahid ’19 brought to life onstage their own serio-comedy, titled How to Adult. Recent graduates Rachel Tils ’19 and Jonathan Wilson ’19 were also involved as directors.
The students not only had to create their own play; they also had to produce it, including negotiating a contract with a venue for dates and times and setting up and breaking down their own sets. “Creating and producing this work is truly at the center of the liberal arts,” says Mills. “These students pulled from a myriad of sources, experiences and materials to collaboratively synthesize their ideas into one cohesive vision.”