Kelsey Savage is one brave new playwright

For 27 years the University of British Columbia’s creative writing and theatre departments have come together to present Brave New Play Rites, an annual festival of theatrical shorts.  Looking to join some of its more famous alumni, includeing Dave Deveau and C.E. Gatchalian, are a new group of writers including Kelsey Savage whose new play Class of ’93 will receive a professional staged reading at this year’s festival.

Telling the story of three women who find themselves hiding in a coat room at their 20 year high school reunion, Class of ’93 explores the interactions between the trio who were in very different social circles during school and now find themselves at a crossroads in each of their own lives.

“I had wanted to write a piece about a triangle of women that would represent the body, mind and spirit and what better way than to put them into a setting with a lot of mythology,” says Savage a third year creative writing major.  “I wanted to explore this mythology of how there are people wanting everyone to believe that they have their shit together and those that don’t buy into that notion.”

And while Savage does not identify as queer herself, her play does include Sylvia, a strong gay marine who asserts her strong personality by cutting through the bullshit as the three women talk about their lives after high school.

“Sylvia is based on my friend’s first girlfriend.  She had this absolute magnetism about her and way of talking and carrying herself that everyone was in her orbit,” says Savage who confesses her other characters are based on real people as well.

“There are just some people that I meet that I totally know that I am going to write about at some point,” she laughs.

Playwright Kelsey Savage and dramaturg Matthew Willis discuss Class of ’93. Photo by Briana Brown.
Playwright Kelsey Savage and Festival dramaturg Matthew Willis discuss Class of ’93. Photo by Briana Brown.

While she had not originally set out to write an overly dramatic piece, Savage does admit that came as a bit of surprise that people find Class of ‘93 as funny as they do.

“I didn’t intend it to be a comedy, but people were laughing,” she explains.  “I think it is because these people are based on real people and how they really talk.”

Her first attempt at playwriting, Savage’s script was chosen to be part of the Festival’s staged reading series which will see Class of ’93 directed by a professional and read by members of the Festival’s acting company.

Her play joins five in the reading series and full productions of twelve others over the Festival’s five days.  Each under fifteen minutes in length, the plays this year include stories of a raccoon couple trying to find affordable real estate, an exploration of two sisters in the wake of a tragedy, and an investigation to determine, once and for all, why the chicken actually crossed the road.

Brave New Play Rites
3 – 7 April 2013
Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre, UBC

Eighteen playwrights, twelve directors, twenty actors, and twelve designers will be working together to create twelve short productions and a staged reading series of an additional six original plays, all of which are under fifteen minutes in length.  This year’s festival includes a raccoon couple trying to find affordable real estate, an exploration of two sisters in the wake of a tragedy, and an investigation to determine, once and for all, why the chicken actually crossed the road. Visit http://www.bravenew.ca for more information.

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