Burrowed within the bowels of the Morrison Center, body casts dangle feet from the ground consuming the dim lighting, each outlining a different actor from the play “Y: A Devised Project.”
The play combines a series of scenes, some connected, some independent, but all uniting the characters through a series of problems that are felt by Generation Y.
Scattered throughout were several different stories telling techniques including Roman mythology, a scene with a projection of a woman dancing and a handful of interpretative dances.
“When we were doing our initial brainstorming a lot of the stuff we were coming up with was: ‘Why do you get to tell me how to act, why do you get to tell me how to feel, why is it that I have to listen to your rules?’” said Shaila Schmidt, a senior theater major. “So we started to play with that idea and the fact that everyone in the class fits into the technical definition of generation Y.”
Schmidt and Matt Kolsky, who is also a senior majoring in theatre, did all the editing for the play however, “Y: A Devised Project” was created by all 13 students in the advanced theatre studies class this semester. As hinted from the title, “Y: A Devised Project” is a device play meaning it was created and designed by the entire cast.
“You’re kind of starting with nothing. You have one idea and you’re just seeing what evolves from it,” Schmidt explained. “(You have to) blur all the lines you traditionally know.”
This is the first device piece to be performed for an audience within the Boise State Theatre Department making the process both exciting and daunting.
According to Kolsky, the experience threw off the normally vertical process of memorizing and preforming a script, “For like three weeks we worked with nothing.”
Many of the scenes within the play stemmed from personal issues within an actor’s life, making cutting and editing difficult and requiring both Kolsky and Schmidt to distance themselves from many of the parts within the play that had sentimental feelings attached to them. One of the biggest barriers for the two editors was balancing a friendly relationship with their co-actors and making sure the play was as well put together, and as satisfactory as possible.
“You have to work with your peers,” Kolsky said. “That’s always hard, to separate your personal life with that person with your professional.”
Although both Kolsky and Schmidt are graduating this year, they each want to experience working with a device piece again, specifically in a theatre where they can experiment and create.
“I do think there is a want or need for device theatre in Idaho right now. I think it’s something we could definitely explore and keep on doing,” Kolsky said as he used the other device play that is opening in May as an example.
“Y: A Devised Project” premiered April 17, and will be playing from April 22-26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Danny Peterson Theatre in the Morrison Center.