U-M theater department launches Plays-In-Process initiative with 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl'
Plays-In-Process is an initiative - started by the University of Michigan department of theatre and drama - that exists to develop and present new plays written by theater students using nominal production values. Emphasis is placed on the exploration and refining of the text, in preparation for the next stage of production.
"Manic Pixie Dream Girl" by Emma Jeszke is the first of these plays in process. It was selected after its original and successful staged reading presentation in the 2011 Playfest, an extension of a playwriting course taught by U of M theatre professor Oyamo. Jeszke said, in a press release, “I felt more than ecstatic when we decided to team up and produce 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' as a Studio Production. Along with a wonderful group of actors, we've read, reworked, and staged the play over the past weeks. What we need now is an audience!"
The "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" is a figure in popular culture we all know well. She’s the woman that every tortured 20-something male wants on his arm, and every 20-something female strives to replicate. The manic pixie dream girl in real life is largely a projection of what the male onlooker wants her to be, and is not seen or understood for who she really is.
What happens when a manic pixie dream girl has to come to grips with her boyfriend’s two best friends? Her perfect eccentricities project a sort of knowingness about the world that forces the onlookers to question their own experiences — and whether they are doing all they can to “embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”
So what’s the cost of this—basing the conception of this girl within a fantastical idea, rather than in reality? In this captivating play, relationships are confronted, ambitions are called into question and faithfulness is challenged, resulting in a harrowing conclusion.
“This kind of developmental process in a studio setting is the perfect outlet for our aspiring and gifted student playwrights, where they can fully scrutinize their plays - their themes, plots and structures - and then present them in front of a discerning audience,” said U-M professor John Neville-Andrews in a press release.
"Manic Pixie Dream Girl," directed by Neville-Andrews, will be presented at the Walgreen Drama Center, Studio I, on April 12-14 at 7 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m. Admission is free, and talkbacks with the playwright, cast and director take place after each performance. For mature audiences.