“The Fledgling” “centers around two household pets trying to figure out why this fledgling bird is disrupting their peace on their fire escape. Throughout the discussion, the audience is brought to see how easy it is to have empathy for those who aren’t like us.”That’s how Shianne Harrison, a 2020 Goshen graduate of the theater department, describes this year’s Peace Play Contest winner.
The biannual Peace Play Contest invites playwrights to submit original one-act plays related to the theme of peace to a selection committee. The winning play is performed by Goshen College’s theater department, and the playwright is invited to attend and do a talk-back after the show.
Amy Budd is a professor of theater at GC and the producer of this year’s play. She thinks one important aspect of the competition is that it provides “an opportunity to introduce students to living, working playwrights,” which she thinks is vital since “writing is often an invisible job, and [people] forget that these texts we use to tell stories are written by people who are sometimes alive.” She appreciates that the competition is “an opportunity to bring that person to campus and help develop a new artistic voice.”
The winning artist for 2022 is Brigid Amos, though Budd said this year was a tight race. “There were two plays that were very, very close, and it took a lot of care and contemplation and discussion for us to decide which one would ultimately be presented,” she commented. She also said Amos’ play, which is a commentary on xenophobia, was eventually selected for its “nuanced portrayal of life.”
Hermione Bean-Mills, a sophomore theater major and an actor in the play, described it as having “a deep message wrapped in a sort of family-friendly, comedic format.”
The three characters in the show are all animals. “There’s been research that’s gone into that,” Bean-Mills said. “Just like mimicking our various animals and how to play around with that. . . how do I move around on stage?. . . it’s been a fun time.”
Harrison thinks the playful story is “a clear example of an issue that’s ever-present today and allows people to digest the subject of ‘othering’ people who are different from the community they’re in. Amos does a great job at explaining xenophobia for audiences.”
There are three chances to see the show this Homecoming Weekend: Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Budd encourages turnout.
If you come, she said, “you will have an opportunity to meet the playwright. . . and you will get to experience Goshen College’s talented students bringing this beautiful story to the stage.” If you don’t come, she said, “you’re going to miss out on a fresh and different way of looking at the world.”
The show runs 45 minutes, and an ASL interpreter will interpret Friday evening’s show.