“It’s a story about love and relationships, but I can’t quite call it a romance or love story,” said senior drama major Caroline McCaughey, in reference to her one-act play, “A Warsaw Melody,” which opens Dec. 2.
For all senior drama majors, putting on a one-act show is a rite of passage. It is the culmination of their time in the Drama Department at Franciscan University, and along with their theses, is one of the final requirements for drama majors before they graduate.
McCaughey has spent her final semester at Franciscan directing, designing, and producing her one-act show since August, though her process dates even earlier than that. McCaughey said that she found this play two years ago, and knew then that she would produce it.
“A Warsaw Melody” was written by Russian playwright Leonid Zorin in 1967. It circles around two characters, a Russian boy and a Polish girl, who meet in the 1940s, and it follows their forbidden relationship through the next two decades.
McCaughey said she was drawn to this play by both her fascination with Russian theatre and her desire to direct a two-person show for a more intimate actor-director experience.
“It’s really an incredible thing, a magical thing, to watch my actors make the characters their own,” said McCaughey, “to be able to see a thing that was in your head grow inside someone until it’s theirs.”
Along with her actors, freshman Matt Walker and junior Rachel Rudegeair, McCaughey has spent 3 hours every week in rehearsal. In addition, both McCaughey and Walker had main roles in the university’s mainstage production of “Much Ado about Nothing,” which McCaughey pointed out had to be prioritized, which made her process more difficult.
Nevertheless, she said that “even if I came into rehearsal feeling really tired and groggy, I never left that way because I just have loved the process so much.”
In addition to directing the play, McCaughey had to design all technical aspects of the show as well, including the set, props, costumes, lights, and sound.
“I’ve just really come to appreciate the well-rounded theatre education that I’ve gotten, because really, everything I’ve done up to this point has prepared me for this production process,” McCaughey said, continuing by noting that “coming out of Franciscan with a degree in drama really prepares you for any specialization in the theatre that you might want to go into.”
“A Warsaw Melody” will be the finale of McCaughey’s time at Franciscan. She will go on to work for Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of a Classics on Tour education
outreach program. She will be touring Ohio schools as the production manager and as the understudy to one of the four characters in an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.”
“Someone’s going to pay me to do this,” she said. “What more could I ask?”
As she comes to the end of her time at Franciscan, McCaughey says that she could not be more grateful for the mentorship that had gotten her to the point where she could produce her own show, and she is eagerly looking forward to its opening.
“If the show were as meaningful to one person in the audience as it is to me,” McCaughey said, “it would all be worth it.” Her one-act will run on Dec. 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. in Anathan Theatre.