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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Playwriting club debuts

Published: November 21, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc.

At the core of theatre (and life) is storytelling.” So says Ayelet Schrek ’17, one of the founders of the new club BARD—Brandeis Association of Rising Dramatists. Schrek came up with the idea for the club last year with friend Sarah Duffet ’17. The name for the club came in part from their desire to use the acronym “bard,” as Shakespeare, the pinnacle of playwrights, was often referred to as such. “The hard part was finding the words to fit the acronym,” Schrek joked.

Last semester, Duffet had been in Brandeis Ensemble Theatre’s (BET) production of “Killer and Me,” an original play by John Schnorrenberg ’14. It was Schnorrenberg’s first full-length play, and opened to fairly positive reviews around campus. “It was a wonderful show, but the two of us reflected that it could have been improved had there been more of a process pre-production.”

Schrek and Duffet wanted to create a community on campus for playwrights to practice writing, and to create a process to provide writers with feedback on their work. Writing is often seen as a solitary activity, but the pair wanted to strike down that notion and create a collaborative atmosphere for people.

“We want to create a space that enables them to explore and hone their talent,” Schrek said. The creators of the club are itching to get BARD off the ground, as they too have ideas in the works and pieces that they would like to be reviewed and edited.

However, unlike most theater groups on campus, BARD will not host many actual performances. The group aims to produce a show of one act plays every semester, starting in the spring semester. While they are open to the idea of putting on a full-length play, they do not see the need for it currently, because there are many already established groups that are willing to produce original student-written plays. Aside from shows, the group will occasionally hold rehearsals or staged readings for longer pieces.

As a group aiming to prepare students to write in the real world, BARD’s organization will be similar to that of a real theater company. Duffet and Schrek will be managing director and artistic director respectively. Julie Landy ’17 is the technical director, and Stephanie Sjoblom ’17 is the treasurer. BARD is still currently searching for somebody to fill the position of director of public relations.

This past Wednesday, BARD held its first meeting. The club is currently in the process of applying for status as a chartered club. While they understand that most often clubs are accepted as recognized clubs for their first semester and then have a chance to be chartered, the leaders of BARD are doing all that they can to get ahead of the game.

“The hardest part has been finding the time to do all the work that needs to be done before the club can start … writing the constitution was a lot of work,” said Schrek.

The aim is that BARD will become an integral part of the theater community at Brandeis. “If it functions as we want it to, it will fill a gap that currently exists and fit seamlessly into the present theater culture at Brandeis,” said Schrek. “Most importantly, we want it to be what people need it to be. BARD will be a collaboration and so it will transform with this school and its members.”