Kenyon Meets ManhattanGAMBIER, Ohio (December 10, 2003) Associate Professor of Drama and Playwright-in-Residence Wendy MacLeod has inspired countless students as a teacher at Kenyon. The tables turned with her newest play. Juvenilia, which is now showing at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater in New York City, grew out of a writing assignment that MacLeod once gave to her introduction to theater class.
"The students go and eavesdrop on conversations," writes MacLeod. "And they bring the stuff in as raw material." It intrigued her that the students "would bring in this incredible, fabulous material that they overheard" but found it challenging to fictionalize it.
"The exercise gave me this wonderful window on what was going on," she says. The glimpse of campus conversations, together with an image of a teenage boy's room (with an exercise bike, a computer, and a lizard), grew into an examination of college life that, like all of MacLeod's work, is at once comic, morally probing, highly entertaining, and thought-provoking. The college students in Juvenilia "are making early attempts at figuring out how to live," she says.
While the play is set at the fictional Jubilee College, it contains references to Kenyon buildings, and the name Jubilee was inspired by Kenyon's founder, Philander Chase, who after leaving Kenyon started the now defunct Jubilee College in Illinois.
Juvenilia premiered November 14. Its six-week run at Playwrights Horizons ends December 21.
MacLeod's award-winning, widely performed play The House of Yes was made into a feature film, which received a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her play The Water Children had a successful run in Los Angeles, where it was cited as the "most challenging political play" of 1998 by L.A. Weekly and earned six L.A. Drama Critics Circle nominations. MacLeod served as an executive story editor for the television series Popular and recently completed a screenplay of her play Schoolgirl Figure, which was commissioned by HBO.
One of the nation's leading liberal arts and sciences colleges and home to the Kenyon Review, Kenyon College offers 1,594 students a challenging educational experience enriched by a culture of friendship. Graduates of the College have included actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and Pulitzer-prize winning author E. L. Doctorow.