A Playwright Returns to Her Roots

Alena Smith ’02 was in the audience last week for a staged reading of her play The Lacy Project. The performance, which had an all-student cast and took place in the intimate Black Box Theater below the Dining Center on February 22, was directed by Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Writing Christian DuComb ’01 and was related to his class “21st-Century Drama in the Americas.”

DuComb, a former collaborator of Smith’s in their theater group Dead Genius Productions, welcomed Smith, who gave a talk after the performance. Smith wrote her first play, Alice Eat Your Words, during her senior year at Haverford. Later that year, she also assembled students from the Bryn Mawr and Haverford theater program to perform in Lunt Basement. Since then, she’s written six plays (including The Lacy Project) and earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Her latest work, The Bad Guys, was part of the Public Theater’s New Work Now! series in September, and will be produced this summer in New York at Second Stage Theatre.

The Lacy Project centers on the life of a 22-year-old woman who struggles to progress past her childhood. Living off a trust fund in New York City, Lacy longs to retain her childhood innocence and still remains emotionally dependent on her mother.  Her friend Giselle, on the other hand, represents a curious foil—a rapper addicted to drugs, she tries hard to maintain an outward appearance of toughness, yet she yearns hopelessly for love.

Although the performance, which was sponsored by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for Arts and Humanities, was only a staged reading, all of the actresses (all of whom had formal theatre experience) really imbued their parts with character. Natasha Cohen-Carroll ’13 perfectly captured Giselle’s petulant loneliness while Camilla Dely BMC ’15 embodied the adolescent demeanor of Lacy.  The play also featured Emily Strong BMC ’13, Julia Hunter ’14 and Marielle Boudreau ’14.

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