Professor presents play to faculty

By Ryan Mulloy
October 24, 2002

Over sabbatical, a campus professor started writing a play the ended up being produced by a local theater company. Now, the play on tape, is coming to Founder’s Hall for a faculty audience and the possibility of a campus release.

In April, Dr. Sharon Schwarze, the department chair of the philosophy department, on sabbatical, decided to begin writing monologues and dialogue in an attempt to learn how to write a play. After starting to get things down, Schwarze decided to take an eight-week class to better her writing.

“I signed up for class at the People’s Light and Theater Company in playwriting,” Schwarze said, “but it was more of a writing workshop.” In the class, Schwarze was read and critiqued and given suggestions about her work. “I learned, and I know I have a lot more to learn.”

The play Schwarze worked on is called “The Tin Years,” and focuses on the elderly, dealing with themes of death and dying, but also touches on the caregiver relationships between a mother and a daughter. “The idea came to me because I have had elderly parents, and they live in one of these communities for elderly people. I watch them and the people around them, and I see how difficult it is to get old and how much courage a lot of them show.” The play overall took three months to work on, but the finished product came out in 45 pages, with 10 scenes taking up the one-act show.

She continued to progress, learning from other people, and soon, her play was ready for production. “It turns out that one of the people in the course was a man who runs an amateur theatrical company called the ‘Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society.'”

The company picked up several of the plays worked on in the class with a program called “Plays in Plain Clothes.” The show was cut down by the group, removing a few scenes, but Schwarze is still toying with her writing, making rewrites, listening to critics and working with the directors.

“It was real exciting to see people really act out your work. I think the play was well received. It is not really an upper as a play because it deals with issues like death.” Schwarze’s reasoning for writing the play this way was a sense of reminding people about the humanity of people.”

Schwarze is presenting the play on tape in a faculty forum and hopes that if it is well received, it will come to students.

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Ryan Mulloy

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