Three boys are sitting in a dorm of an all-boys’ boarding school: One is telling the story of his most recent sexual encounter. One is waiting anxiously for his girlfriend to call, and the last one is trying — and failing — to get some homework done.
This may be a typical college scene, but it is also the setting for junior dramatic art major Mark Taylor’s play, “Snow Days.”
“It’s just about a few friends over the course of a couple snow days, and the loss of their friend a few weeks before sort of adds the gravity to the play,” he said.
Taylor, who also directed the play, was inspired by his own experience at an all-boys’ boarding school and a story from his friend.
“I was really interested in just portraying the life I’d lived and the places I’d been,” he said.
The play is being produced by Kenan Theatre Company, a new theater organization on campus.
Kenan Theatre Company is a dramatic art department organization, and it is the only one for undergraduate students in the program. All of the plays will be performed in the Kenan Theatre. It was created by department staff, but the producing directors are all students.
“We are the department, so we are a safe place for anybody who’s interested in theater, but doesn’t quite know what they want to do,” said Cary Simpson , a senior English major, is the producer of “Snow Days” and one of the producing directors for the company.
The environment worked well for Taylor, who submitted his play to be performed by the company.
Currently, it is just a staged reading and not a full production, but Taylor is excited and said he enjoyed having actors perform his lines.
“You get to sit there and watch your lines sound 10 times better than they actually are,” he said.
“Having an Englishman makes things really interesting because his interpretation of every line is different than I intended it, and he insists at this point that his character should be English.”
Cameron Stuart, a British exchange student and junior history major, plays the character of Jack. Stuart said the character takes everything and makes it slightly worse through inappropriate humor.
“It was obviously interesting because the character immediately is English, and its first-ever portrayal is me, and so I tend to Englify all of my lines very slightly,” he said.
Stuart said he likes the challenge of creating a new role, especially since this play is entirely created and performed by UNC students and staff.
“It’s a fantastic script. It’s obviously written by someone at UNC, and I believe that supporting UNC-produced stuff is the most important,” he said.
“It’s well and good taking plays and bringing them here, but something that was written, directed, produced, absolutely everything has been (student-oriented) is a truly wonderful thing.”
Stuart also said the characters are relatable, and that helps make the show funny.
Taylor said he likes to try to portray reality in a way that people who do not usually go to the theater will enjoy.
“As I usually say for my shows: first of all, it’s short, and it’s free, so it’s not much of a commitment — you can’t really go wrong,” he said.
“It should be fun and exciting and different from most theater you’ll see.”
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