Montgomery News recently reported that Arcadia University’s production Swing of the Sea is a participant in the 44th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for Region II, which is being held at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Jan. 10 to 14. Mark Wade, Assistant Professor and Director of Theater Arts, was offered the play by young playwright Molly Hagan, as reported by Josh De Ruosi.
Hagan, now 24, grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and attended Ohio University, where she majored in theater. In her junior year she wrote a 10-minute play, “A Brief History of the Cosmos,” which earned her an invitation to that year’s KCACTF festival. It was there that she met and befriended Mark Wade. Early in 2011, Wade asked if he could produce any of Hagan’s plays at Arcadia and she gave him “The Swing of the Sea.”
Hagan, who is now living in Brooklyn, played no role in directing the play and only had some input into its production. Surprisingly, this does not unnerve her, as she says, “Mark is a great director — I really trust him to bring this piece to life for the first time.”
Hagan began working on the play in 2008 and describes it as “a fantastical take on memory and death — or, more specifically, experiencing death for the first time.” Both the title of the play and its primary influence were found in the poetry — specifically, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Heaven/Haven.”
The play focuses on characters 12 and 13 years of age who are mourning the suicide of their equally young friend. Hagan shares that, although the script went through many transformations, the plot and characters have never changed.
The Swing of the Sea has been read at Ohio University and several theaters in New York and was performed at Arcadia University. The play currently stands to win several awards at this year’s KCACTF, some of which include outstanding devised work, outstanding production, and outstanding direction.
Photo by Fig Tree Photography