LAB! Theatre, a student theatre company, is virtually producing and broadcasting an original student play by senior Stuart Wilson, “One Foot Forward, One Foot Back" this weekend.
The show, which is free, will be live-streamed April 24-26 at 7:30 p.m. on YouTube and broadcast through Zoom Live.
Amelia Jerden, a senior and public relations director for LAB! Theatre, said the company realized in 2019 that there were not enough opportunities for student playwrights to have their work produced and performed on campus. Since then, the company commissions original student-written plays every year.
Director Evan Krell said the play is imbued with feelings graduating college students are all too familiar with — nostalgia for the past and incertitude about the future. These struggles are presented through the story of two rising seniors in college, Mason and Robin, who go back to Mason’s hometown of Atlas, N.C. to conduct research for their oral history project about the town.
In this fictional town inspired by Wilson’s own life, their findings challenge their assumptions about themselves, their future and the town.
“This play is an evolution of a conversation I have with myself about how much to hold on to from the past while you're really going towards the future,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s idea for this play was sparked in April 2020, and after his play was formally commissioned in 2020, he worked on the script throughout the summer. Starting in August and all throughout the fall 2020 semester, Wilson worked closely with LAB! Theatre on table reads and rewrites.
“I got a lot of good feedback,” Wilson said. “I was able to have discussions with people, explain my intention with the effects I wanted to achieve, hear how they felt, what worked, what didn't. I think that's definitely where I made the most progress in my growth as an author.”
Josh Wahab, a senior double majoring in dramatic art and political science, plays Lee, Mason’s childhood friend from Atlas. For the past three years, while Mason has been away at Hilltop Uni, Lee has been suffering in his hometown because he could not afford to go away to college.