Aaron Randolph III '12 has graced the stage at SAU on many occasions, most recently as Feldzieg The Producer in The Drowsy Chaperone, and he will be seen later this year as Lord Windermere in Lady Windermere's Fan.
Randolph (at left) has been invaluable to SAU's Theatre Department in the past, but next year, Randolph will be contributing more than his acting skills. Two of his originals will be put up on the stage in the 2011-12 season. In an interview with Randolph, he shared some insight into his shows and efforts.
What is the general storyline of each play? This can include characters, setting, theme, plot, and/or any other information you would like to share!
The Plagiarists is the story of Stacy, a college art student, who takes a class with her idol, the world-renowned artist Richard Prince. Richard's most famous work is a controversial re-photograph of the iconic Marlboro Man advertisement. Many people, including some of his students, claim that his picture is little more than plagiarism, but Stacy defends his work, arguing that it is a commentary on idealism, originality and the lies that we are so often sold. This endears her to Richard who takes her on as his protégé, all while her relationship with her boyfriend, Andy, crumbles under their mutual deceit and lack of trust. The play examines the idea of ownership in art, life and relationships, and asks the question: where is the line drawn between inspiration and theft, quotation and plagiarism, love and manipulation?
The children's show is a bit more difficult to summarize because, frankly, I'm not completely finished with it. What I can tell you is that it is inspired by the Jules Verne novel, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." It should be noted, however, that it will really only use the book as the jumping off point and will not at all be concerned with any sort of strict adherence to the source material. Beyond that, I intend on taking the story in a much more zany and fanciful direction than the original source material, including singing sea creatures, silly musical parodies, and a visit to an Atlantis that may closely resemble Las Vegas. The show is about wonder and spectacle more than anything, and I have the wonderful convenience of being able to use my own two kids as a test audience for all my ideas.
What are you hoping as far as publication goes? Will you get it published nationally/would you like it to be performed nationally, or is this more of just a personal experiment?
My hope for these scripts is that their production at SAU might create interest in other theaters wanting to [produce them]. I'd love for this to lead to more opportunities, as I am passionate about creating new works for the stage. So eventually, I hope that there is enough interest in my writing to necessitate my scripts being published, but right now, I am just focused on trying to make my scripts worth producing. The best thing I can do to promote my work is to make it as excellent as it can be.
When and why did you start playwriting?
I wrote my first play about five years ago, and I did it because I was working a job I hated, and I hadn't done anything creative in a few years. I felt really compelled to chronicle my life and the sort of frustration I had encountered among people my age, who were out of school but didn't really know what they were doing with their lives. So I wrote a play that sort of did that, and it was really wonderful and cathartic to work on. Unfortunately I sort of wrote myself into a corner with the play, and I need to go back now that I know better what I am doing and fix it, as I think it has a lot of potential, but at the time I abandoned it before it was really ready for production.
I went on to write a few other shorter plays, but when I decided to go back to school, I really made a new commitment to writing. I've been writing more and more in the last few years and I can really tell that my work has consistently gotten better with each script. I'm really excited about getting a full-length play produced, and it is so humbling to have St. Ambrose [produce] two of my plays next year. It's really quite overwhelming when I take the time to think about it, but fortunately I am so busy that I never have time to think.
We would like to congratulate Aaron for his efforts and amazing accomplishments and we are extremely anxious to be able to be the first to produce his originals!