Theatre faculty works selected for performances

Theatre faculty works selected for performances

By Alex Pologruto | Mar 18, 2022

Lissa Graham Schneider and Darryl Phillipy

Murray State University faculty member headshots of Lissa Graham-Schneider and Daryl Phillipy

Two faculty members have original plays performed

MURRAY, Ky. — Plays by two Murray State University theatre faculty members have recently been performed at national venues. Sweetpea and Me by professor Lissa Graham-Schneider was performed at the Rockford New Words Festival at the West Side Show Room in Rockford, Illinois, and My Head Hurts by associate professor Daryl Phillipy was a featured workshop play at the Scawwy Howwow Theatre in New York, New York.

“I was honored to have my work chosen by Rockford New Words for performance,” says Graham-Schneider. “Sweet Pea and Me was conceptualized as a spoken word piece. I first composed it for an anti-racism rally held on the campus of Murray State. I have been refining it for years.” 

The Rockford New Words Festival is an annual event and features ten new works on a particular theme. The works are performed by professional actors for live and virtual audiences via Facebook. This year’s theme was “Words of Women,” and Sweetpea and Me was chosen from over 200 entries nationwide.

“This is the first time I have not been the performer of Sweet Pea and Me,” says Graham-Schneider. “It was satisfying to hear the perspectives of the director and the actress. They were able to express nuisances to the work that I, as a non-actor, lack the ability to convey. I hope to eventually extend this piece into a larger work.”

Phillipy submitted his play for consideration after seeing a posting for Scawwy Howwow Theatre on Play Submission Helper, a website that lists monthly play submissions across the United States. Scawwy Howwow Theatre is an New York City multi-media company that “aims to push the limits of theatre, media and horror.”

Phillipy’s ten-minute work focuses on a “normal, everyday couple,” Honey and Dear. Dear comes home from a hard day at the office with a splitting headache and Honey is there to see to his every need. Dear has brought home a gift for Honey, packaged in a box. “The guessing game of ‘what’s in the box’ ensues,” said Phillipy, “and Dear's mood worsens as his headache worsens. Honey soothes him and finally gets to see what is in the box.”

“The challenges of writing a ten-minute play are that you don't really have a lot of time for exposition, and the dramatic action needs to unfold so that the play has a clear beginning, middle and end. It's tough to write for more than two or three characters in a ten-minute play,” said Phillipy. “I don't get too many opportunities to act anymore, with Covid, and the fact that professional opportunities are few and far between when you live in Murray, Kentucky, so playwriting offers an additional creative outlet.”

To watch the performance of professor Graham-Schneider’s Sweetpea and Me, visit Facebook.

The play begins at the 53 minute mark. For more information about the Scawwy Howwow Theatre please visit scawwyhowwowtheatre.com/. To learn more about the theatre arts program at Murray State University please visit murraystate.edu/theatre.

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