‘Tragi­com­edy in One Act’

Ridge­field stu­dent de­buts new play on Tues­day

The News-Times - - NEWS - By Stephen Coul­ter

From the start of fresh­man year through grad­u­a­tion se­nior year, the high school ex­pe­ri­ence is one marked by both highs and lows — a jour­ney of ups and downs that cre­ates life­long laughs as much as it does nerve-wrack­ing headaches.

Ridge­field High School ju­nior Caroline Mal­ley traces those ebbs and flows in her new play, “The High School Ex­pe­ri­ence: A Tragi­com­edy in One Act,” which will de­but at the Ridge­field Play­house at 6:30 p.m. on Tues­day.

“It’s a par­ody of high school in one act,” said the first-time play­wright.

Mal­ley said she used the for­mat of Satur­day Night Live as her in­spi­ra­tion.

“It’s an ensem­ble cast and the story is told through a se­ries vi­gnettes,” she ex­plained. “It starts with a fresh­man in high school and we see this ‘dream’ of what high school should be and then it goes through the re­al­ity of what it’s ac­tu­ally like to be here all four years . ... The fi­nal vi­gnette is through the lens of a se­nior.”

Mal­ley said the goal of her story is to par­ody the tropes of teenagers and school teach­ers as they were pop­u­lar­ized in the me­dia.

“It’s re­ally sup­posed to be fun,” she said. “The com­edy of the high school ex­pe­ri­ence is what re­ally ap­pealed to me.”

She is di­rect­ing a cast of 10 stu­dents, in­clud­ing one se­nior, one fresh­man and eight ju­niors.

“We’re mostly the­ater kids who have done the plays here at the high school,” she said. “I’ve been do­ing the­ater for my en­tire life.”

Mal­ley, who plans to study drama and jour­nal­ism in col­lege, said her role model from SNL and act­ing was Gilda Rad­ner.

As a writer, she cred­its Fran Lei­bovitz and Wendy Wasser­stein for in­flu­enc­ing her style.

“They both are just icons of com­edy in my eyes while also be­ing land­mark cham­pi­ons of women whom I heav­ily ap­pre­ci­ate,” she said.

Mal­ley said she drew a lot from Lei­bovitz’ “So­cial Stud­ies” and Wasser­stein “Isn’t it Ro­man­tic” and “The Heidi Chron­i­cles.”

“Cur­rently, out of the 86 Pulitzer Prize win­ners for Play­writ­ing only 15 are women and clearly that is some­thing that needs to be changed,” she said. “Wasser­stein cer­tainly inspired me and I hope to do that for oth­ers some day.”

For tick­ets to The High School Ex­pe­ri­ence, which cost $10, call the Play­house at 203-438-5795 or go to ridge­field­play­house.org.

Pro­ceeds will go to “Girls, Not Brides,” an in­ter­na­tional, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that fights the sex traf­fick­ing cri­sis the world is cur­rently en­dur­ing, and child mar­riages.

Stephen Coul­ter / Con­tributed photo

The cast of “The High School Ex­pe­ri­ence: A Tragi­com­edy in One Act.”

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