“You don’t have to know anything about “trans issues” to see this play. And at the same time, there is a lot happening in the state of North Carolina and elsewhere that will directly affect the lives of transgender people, and you will leave this play understanding a little more about what the experience of being transgender is like.”-Mashuq Mushtaq Deen
“Sometimes Draw the Circle gets labeled a ‘trans play,’ but I don’t think it is. It’s fundamentally a story about family. A story about parents and children. Most of all, there are no bad guys in this play. There are people struggling to love in a world that is changing around them, and sometimes the struggle is the love. I will do my best to bring all of that struggle to the stage … and you are welcome to bring it to the theatre.”
The vicarious trip we make alongside Violet is one that cuts to the core of the human condition. With the blossoming of her initially diminished self, she becomes a symbol of each of our journeys through the paths of the maturation process, moving from ignorance to knowledge, from fragmentation to wholeness, from isolation to community, and from fear to love.
Thomas Cassidy appears in Violet as the fiery televangelist Preacher. Thomas was also in the acting companies for Guys & Dolls (SYC 2015) and Hairspray (SYC 2014), so he’s well acquainted with all the work that goes into putting on our Summer Youth Conservatory shows. Here he shares a series of photos, with personal captions, he took during rehearsal capturing a behind-the-scenes look at a “day in the life” during SYC.
Hi everyone! My name is Lili Whittier and I play Young Vi in PlayMakers Summer Youth Conservatory production of Violet. I’ve been involved in Summer Youth Conservatory productions for the past 3 summers, and I can say without hesitation that taking part has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.
PlayMakers’ Summer Youth Conservatory allows high school students to get involved in all aspects of creating theatre, both onstage and backstage. This year, when set designer Robin Vest included the use of real trees on stage in her design, the Theatre Tech crew had a special project!
We’ve asked some SYC students to share their experiences this summer. First up is Violet cast member Connor Lewis.
The Road Trip. It’s an American institution, obsession, and rite of passage. Traveling on, hitting the highway, whether following well-worn paths or “lighting out for the territories” in Huck Finn’s famous phrase, the lure of the road occupies a hallowed place in our national consciousness, beckoning in mutual directions from the intersection of leisure and longing.
When I conceptualize choreography for a show it’s important that it is driven by the story … and this story is ON A BUS! So you can only do so much before things start to look like a bad 80s music video. But the challenge is something I’ve embraced over the past six months.
This year’s Summer Youth Conservatory show Violet takes us on a journey across the American South in the 1960s. As we travel from Appalachian North Carolina toward Oklahoma, the music that moves us along is as varied as the locations and characters we visit on the way. From bluegrass to gospel, folk to Memphis blues, it’s an experience that invites us to hop on the bus and join our heroine, Violet, for the ride.