On April 25 and 26, the Keene State College Group Theatre put on a production of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” in the Wright Theatre at the Redfern Arts Center.
The mission of the KSC Group Theatre, according to William Howell, director of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” and advisor to the Group Theatre, is to “engage, inspire and challenge those interested in the performing arts.” He explained that the group serves to connect students with others who share similar interests and to support artistic development “through the exchange of ideas and development of new works.”
According to Howell, the idea for this production came from Cara Gerardi and Kenon Veno, the two students
featured in the show. Gerardi plays Kayleen, a troubled young woman, and Veno plays Doug, her accident prone best friend. “The process of putting together this production has been exhilarating,” Howell said. “I saw an amazing opportunity as a director,” he said.
Initially, Gerardi and Veno were planning on doing a staged reading of the play, according to Gerardi. But, eventually, the production evolved.
“We had to find a space, props, costumes, lighting, etc., all on our own,” Gerardi said. “We were so lucky with the number of students eager to get involved.” Work on this production began in February. According to Howell, they held “over twenty rehearsals and have had an additional twenty students get involved in various aspects of the production.”
“This project has provided an opportunity for students to get together and collaborate, doing something that they love and are interested in,” Veno said. “It’s been so great to work with a group of talented and devoted people.”
The play provoked many laughs and intense moments of silence from the audience. Each scene was prefaced with a year, and it was not chronological. Each year showed a different point in the relationship between Doug and Kayleen.
“The play is so human,” Gerardi said. “It is about the relationship between two people.” The play focuses on pain and scars, both physical and emotional. Gerardi said that everyone can relate to the characters in this play in one way or another.
“The pain and scars gathered throughout these two people’s lives is what brings them together, but also what keeps them apart,” she said. Veno agreed. “As crazy as they are,” he said, “Doug and Kayleen deal with some very human problems. A lot of their conflict could be found in just about anyone.”
Sarah Rooney can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org