UA alumni and students bring 'Twitterpated' to Tucson Fringe Fest this weekend
Hailey Eisenbach / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Twitterpated, written and directed by Maryann Green, is a play which revolves around the evolving relationship of two young people. The play stars Allison Akmajian and Dakota Scibilia.
Whether you’re a regular theatergoer or not, the Tucson Fringe Theater Festival at Club Congress this weekend will almost certainly tickle your fancy.
This year’s Fringe Festival marks three years since the renowned festival made its way to Tucson, bringing with it a chance for exposure for countless dramatic works and playwrights.
“The idea of the original Fringe Fest was to bring people together post-World War II, to bring people together with this art,” said Maryann Karen Flannery Green, one of the weekend’s several playwrights/directors making a Fringe Festival debut with her play “Twitterpated — A Love Story in 140 Characters or Less.”
“I don’t know of another theater festival with such variety,” Green said. “It always broadens people’s circles a little.”
A UA alumna and drama teacher at Rincon High School, Green has long been involved with theater arts and has worked in almost every part of live theater: directing, acting and set and costume design. As Green explains it, playwriting was the only dimension of the theater world she had never really tried, a realization that led her to write “Twitterpated” last year.
“It kind of came about as a personal challenge to do something with theater that didn’t involve school,” Green said.
The idea for “Twitterpated” originated in a two-minute scene Green wrote for a separate showcase. After that, Green said, “The rest of it just kind of wrote itself.”
It wasn’t long before this kernel of an idea became an entity of its own, prompting Green to submit the script to the Fringe Festival “in the spirit of risk-taking.” Despite the fact that this was her first-ever completed original work, Twitterpated was accepted into the festival. Needless to say, it was clear that Green had a knack for writing.
“Twitterpated” is a one-act play that charts the doomed romance of two 20-somethings over the course of 13 scenes.
Keeping to what Green terms the “experimental” edge of the Fringe Festival, the play showcases the two characters’ relationship through conversation.
Whereas many plays focus on the action and events in the protagonists’ lives, “Twitterpated” is more concerned with the people themselves, as well as exploring how people really communicate when no one’s around and there’s nothing much to do. In the words of co-star Dakota Scibilia, also a UA alumnus, “Green just nailed the experience of being post-graduate and just doing normal things.
“Ultimately, a breakup is something everyone goes through tons of times in their life, but it’s how ‘Twitterpated’ tells its story that gets to the heart of how universal it is.”
Allison Akmajian, a senior studying creative writing and French, and the show’s other lead, agreed that there is something unique about “Twitterpated.”
“With the medium of theater, there is something particularly magical about the storytelling,” Akmajian said. “It only happens once, and right in front of you, so it just lives on in your memory.”
The play is one of many that will be shown at the Fringe Festival, but its endlessly creative script is sure to make it a highlight of the weekend.
Green said that a crucial part of making “Twitterpated” work was treating her script as a fluid document sometimes in need of rewriting.
“The biggest challenge for me, directing an original work, has been a tendency to just overthink and question every word, every punctuation mark,” Green said. “When we started, I had what I thought was a definitive version, but working with the actors and seeing it come to life has definitely inspired some changes.”
Green was quick to clarify that the collaborative spirit of “Twitterpated” has only improved the play as a whole.
“Dakota and Allison really took ownership of the characters in a great way,” she said. “The whole experience has been so positive, just a very safe way for me to enter the world of playwriting.”
With its unorthodox script and the communal effort of the play’s production, “Twitterpated” will stand as a testament to the abundance of creativity that has come out of the UA.
“Twitterpated — A Love Story in 140 Characters or Less” plays at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Club Congress. Tickets for a single event at Tucson Fringe Theater Festival are $7, all ages.