Drew University often provides student artists the chance to experiment with and revise their original work. A quintessential example of this creative process is the staged reading of Spinning Out, a new play by Genevieve Windbiel (‘20). On Monday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m., the first of two staged readings of the play was presented. I saw a reading of Spinning Out when it was produced as a Play in Process (or PIP) last semester. It was fascinating to spot the changes between both renditions of the play.
COURTESY OF TYRIK ONCE
The program for Spinning Out details the department’s purpose in mounting these staged readings, which is “allowing [playwrights] the freedom to explore and refine their work over an extended period of time and without the pressures of a full production.” Due to this element of active play development, edits can be made to the first performance and applied to the next staging..
The play follows Sandra, a frazzled college student who constantly struggles to calm her mind and control her schedule. When her best friend invites her to a dance class, Sandra meets a captivating love interest, and her world is turned upside down. She is forced to wrestle with questions of destiny and her own strength.
During the staged reading on Monday, the audience was constantly erupting in laugher in response to the witty and personable characters. The way the play challenges the audience to think about fate and human flaws is a remarkable accomplishment of Windbiel’s writing and keeps viewers on their toes.
Since this is a staged reading, there was a simplistic manner of performance. Nevertheless, Spinning Out’s director, Jaye Santoro (‘19), provided effective guidance for the presentation. The play contains moments with a variety of intensity––from friends hanging out and eating Chipotle, to a swing dance class, to moments of fierce conflicts between characters. Santoro did the text justice, helping the story and its characters shine. The technical designers also made great contributions to the production. Each of the actors were remarkably sincere in their portrayal of these relatable and sometimes zany characters.
After the reading, audience members were invited to stay for a talkback with Windbiel, so that she could ask questions about characters, plot and story meaning in order to make effective edits.
There is one more chance to see Spinning Out––this Saturday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Directing Lab in the Theatre Wing of the DoYo. Tickets are free. You will not want to miss this fascinating play.