‘Re-Drowning Ophelia’ premieres at Lyceum Theatre
Young playwright pens lesbian coming of age story
Published Thursday, 25-Feb-2010 in issue 1157
The 26th Annual California Young Playwright’s Project will premiere Re-Drowning Ophelia, a production featuring a lesbian coming of age story at the Lyceum Theatre this weekend.
Katie Henry, a sophomore at New York University, from Berkeley, Calif. wrote the play.
Of the 242 submissions, three plays were chosen to be transformed into full stage productions.
“I think her script was scored the highest,” Playwright’s Project executive director Cecelia Kouma said. “All of the judges loved her play.”
The selected playwrights were paired with a dramateur to help them develop the productions and help create a finished product.
“It’s a pretty remarkable experience for a young writer,” Kouma said. “We’re looking for the voice of a writer; something that feels like an honest subject matter the writer cares about and has something to say about,” Kouma added.
Henry’s inspiration for Re-Drowning Ophelia came after reading the many self help books about raising teenage girls her parents had.
“They all seemed to center around Ophelia as a symbol for the weak, passive teenage girl character,” Henry said. “I was offended by the idea that a bunch of adults, especially male adults, would presume to speak for a teenage girl. I tried to write a play in which as many different ways of being a teenage girl came out.”
Henry says she identifies with all of the play’s characters in some way and that they all have an element of her personality.
In Re-Drowing Ophelia, the characters Rosa and Sara are best friends. Sara, the nerd, is comfortable with her lesbian identity, and wants to come out, while Rosa, the jock, is uncomfortable and unsure of her sexual identity. The two have strong romantic feelings for each other, which culminates with a kiss.
Henry said she could not have imagined not including a lesbian story line, because the play would not be representative of all teenage girls.
“It felt like that was apart of being a teenage girl for so many people,” Henry said. “I felt like I should include it.”
Re-Drowning Ophelia marks Henry’s first chance at a fully staged production.
“The people at Playwright’s Project have been wonderful,” Henry enthused. “I was sort of worried at first because my script does contain some mature themes and strong language. They really have been very kind to my vision of the play and have really invested in telling a story that I want to tell.”
The Lyceum Theatre hosts productions of Re-Drowning Ophelia on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. General admission is $20 and tickets are $15 for students, seniors and military. The Lyceum Theatre is located at 79 Horton Plaza, in Downtown San Diego. For more information, visit www.lyceumevents.org or call 619-544-1000.