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Theater season ends with trio of productions

MIT's spring season of theater ends this week with a flurry of offerings including original one-act plays, a dramatic classic and sketch comedy.

The annual Playwrights in Performance, featuring one-act plays written by members of the MIT community, will be presented Thursday-Saturday, May 7-9. Under the direction of Associate Provost of the Arts Alan Brody, this year's scripts are Brotherhood by Joel M. Rosenberg, a junior in mechanical engineering; Heels over Head by physics graduate student Vladimir Zelevinsky, who's working on his master's degree in nuclear physics, and Home by Katherine Varn, a senior studying materials science and engineering.

First-time playwright Mr. Zelevinsky compares the production of his play to an avalanche. "All I did was to push a small stone, and now there's this huge mass barreling down the slope, with many people being involved -- actors, prop managers, set designers," he said. "But my work is done, and I'm curious to see what will they do with it."

"The playwrights learn far more from the actors than I could ever teach in a classroom," Professor Brody said. "It's a genuine MIT lab."

Also May 7-9, the MIT Community Players present a more classic work, Henrik Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea. Featuring MIT employees, alumni/ae, students and friends, the show is directed by Andrea Gargiulo, former secretary to Professor Larry Young of the Man-Vehicle Laboratory.

"The play not only features Ibsen's brilliant insight into the female experience, but speaks to the question that both sexes still ask today," said Ms. Gargiulo, who is now an attorney and a master's degree candidate in dramatic arts at Harvard University. "How do we share a space with a loved one, a home, without giving up our freedom? Can we balance our need to be free with our need for connection?"

MIT's new sketch-comedy group, Plush Daddy Fly, makes its public debut on Saturday, May 9. Plush Daddy Fly's cast of nine students writes their own material, incorporating pre-recorded music and video.

Jeremy Lueck, a junior studying electrical engineering and computer science, started the group to bring a new type of humor to the MIT campus. "We're very good here at MIT at making fun of ourselves, how much we work and how geeky we are," he said. "This humor tries to get away from MIT and reflect on the things that are funny in everyday life."

The troupe first formed for the AEPhi Live talent show in January, when they adopted the temporary name of "Plush Daddy Fly and the Soft Toys." But, many audience members liked the name Plush Daddy Fly, says Mr. Lueck, and "the name stuck, kind of like a bad nickname you can't get rid of."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 6, 1998.

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