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Student-produced play takes flight

The staged reading of “Little Wings” not only offers audience members the opportunity to witness a never-before-performed play but also invites them to comment and converse with cast members on the work’s continued development.

Written, directed and performed by Ohio State theater students, the feature-length play “Little Wings” will be presented to audience members on Monday and Tuesday in the Drake Performance and Event Center. Following the staged reading, the cast and playwright will encourage audience members to offer their insight and opinions on the work.

Karie Miller, a doctoral candidate studying theater and the director of “Little Wings,” said that the play offers viewers an opportunity to observe a very young play as it continues to grow and develop.

“In the lifestyle of the play, it’s in its early stages, and it will still go through other stages,” Miller said. “It’s still in development, so this is an interesting point to begin interacting with the play because you’re sort of getting in on the ground level and can see where it goes from here.”

Cecelia Bellomy, a third-year in English and the writer of “Little Wings, said the play is the first full-length play that she has written. Although Bellomy has been writing and editing drafts of the piece since May, she admits that there is still more work to be done.

“I consider (the reading) a performance of a work in progress,” Bellomy said. “I’ve been working on it for a long time, so I have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to turn out and what I want it to be, but I don’t think it’s completely finished.”

During the performance, actors will be out of their seats and moving around the stage, but they will carry their scripts with them. Bellomy said she hopes that the event will serve the dual purpose of entertaining audience members while also providing her with feedback she can use when creating the final draft of the work.

The piece, which is set in a ghost town after the coal rush in Appalachia, follows the relationship between a college-aged writer and her grandmother, and the story explores the themes of identity, age, ambition and youth, Miller said.

“Plays are written about the most important moments of our lives,” she said. “This moment for (the main character) is about figuring out who she is based on what she has inherited and what she creates for herself in terms of her identity and how she negotiates that literally in life but also spiritually.”

Miller said the feeling of being caged by circumstances is a central issue throughout the play and something that makes the work relevant to OSU students.

“I think that the sense of not knowing what comes next, or how to make the next step, or even who you are in relation to the next step is a pretty common feeling in your early 20s as you’re exiting college,” Miller said. “I think it’s very relatable to college students, especially because it doesn’t really offer answers, which I think is important for theater to do — to kind of allow us to dwell and reflect and explore together.”

“Little Wings” will be performed in the New Works Lab in the Drake Performance and Event Center at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Admission is free.

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