March 24, 2020
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Elizabeth Gambal ’14 and Natalie Margolin ’14 in the off-Broadway production of "The Power of Punctuation." Photo by Julia Greer ’15.
A glowing review in The New York Times bolstered the off-Broadway production of “The Power of Punctuation,” a play that Natalie Margolin ’14 wrote and originally staged at Kenyon.
The Times called the play “smart and well-acted ... a small, welcome oasis of entertainment.” “The Power of Punctuation” ran through August 6 in the Davenport Theatre.
“I had absolutely no idea The Times was going to be there,” Margolin said. “When one of the producers told me, I literally fell down. It gave us legitimacy. There are so many shows that go on here and to be in The Times is an absolute dream. We sold out just every night since the review was published (July 19).”
The play began as the drama major’s senior thesis project and was staged at the Hill Theater in February 2014. Margolin’s teacher and mentor, Wendy MacLeod ’81 P’15 ’17, the James Michael Playwright in Residence/Professor of Drama, helped her develop the script.
“While we have many Kenyon alumni who are working playwrights, it’s unprecedented for a senior thesis to basically move to off-Broadway within two years of graduation,” MacLeod said. “Normally, playwrights would premiere a play in New York after they earned an MFA somewhere.”
“The Power of Punctuation” is a comedy that explores the relationships among three female college roommates and their responses to gentlemen callers. It begins when two of the roommates stumble to their dorm room at 4 a.m. after a long night of drinking.
Margolin, Elizabeth Gambal ’14 and Rebecca Frisch ’14 reprise the roles they created at Kenyon as the roommates. Other graduates involved in the New York City production are director Casey Griffin ’14 and producers Julia Greer ’15 and Emma Miller ’15.
Margolin was serving a post-graduation internship at a New York theater company when a producer there, Matthew Kagen, read her script and offered to stage it with the original Kenyon director and cast.
“Matt said at our first meeting he wanted to preserve the play’s unique and specific world, a world that would be new to New York,” Margolin said. “He thought it was important for the audience to feel like they were peeking behind the curtain or through a closed door … It’s just a dream come true to be doing this with my best friends. It’s amazing.”
A native of Los Angeles, Margolin originally sought to pursue a career in acting, but discovered playwriting at Kenyon. “It opened up such a door for me. It’s exciting to be able to tell a story. I struggle to label myself as either an actress or a playwright. I love both and want to do both.”
Her second play already has found a home in Chicago at the Haven Theatre, where it is scheduled to premiere October 30 under the direction of yet another Kenyon graduate, Alyssa White ’12.