July 24, 2024

Sean Lewis, senior English major, was recently given the opportunity by the theater program at California Baptist University to workshop his most recent play in preparation for his future career as a playwright.

On Sept. 21, members of the CBU theater community were involved in a staged reading of Lewis’ play, “Magic Nate.”

In his play, Nate, a young boy with autism, lives with his alcoholic father, Jeff, after the death of Nate’s mother.

A staged reading is often used to examine the quality of the text in a play, especially if the script is still in development, as was the case with “Magic Nate.” In this type of event, the cast sits with the script in hand reading with dramatic inflection and minimal movement, otherwise known as blocking.

After the reading, the intimate audience was encouraged to fill out critique cards to give the author and production team a better idea of how the work was received by a live audience.

“Once I account for the feedback from the staged reading, I will begin writing a third draft of ‘Magic Nate,’” Lewis said. “In November, I will begin submitting the completed third draft to numerous universities as an application piece for graduate study in playwriting.”

Though the theater program at CBU will not perform the work, it did allow Lewis the opportunity to use its space and community for advice and support concerning his personal piece of work in order to further his education and career.

“At the theater program, we’re a student body who is always willing to help each other with any request, especially if it’s in the arts,” said Rene Jimenez, senior theater major.

Lewis recommended airing works in progress as part of the writing process. The process not only helps the author but the actors involved as well.

Cecelia Melody, senior theater major, played Nate’s mother in the play and said she learned from the workshop.

“This experience has helped me as an actress explore creating a character without being able to refer to another actresses’ portrayal of that role. I recommend being a part of a new production to any actor looking for something to push them,” Melody said.

Lewis said he was just as excited to share the experience.

“The amazing thing about playwriting is that a piece of writing will be played by 10 different actors in 10 completely different ways. Bringing the text to life outside of your vision through a reading is the only way to see what it will actually become in the real world,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he was satisfied with constructive criticism, which was the desired goal of the staged reading.

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