Fringe Goes Long offers diverse plays written by students

After months of practice, edits and rewrites, theater students will premiere student-written plays at their annual Fringe Goes Long event.

Beginning three years ago, Fringe Goes Long was created as a program for the theater arts community. Full-length plays are edited throughout the semester and performed in their entirety by actors and actresses who perform the story live on stage.

“We take submissions of full-length plays the semester before and figure out which ones we want to work on,” said Roy Conboy, the theater professor who makes the script selection each semester.  “We do about three or four in a semester, it’s actually a huge undertaking, even though it’s only three or four plays.”

Selected this semester, “Broken” by Patricia Reynoso and “The New American Order” by Conrad Panganiban both premiered on Dec. 1 and 2. The third chosen play, “She Was Here” by Becky Raeta, will show on Dec. 9.

With an all female cast, “She Was Here” highlights the infamous women of the western world who have been forgotten or ignored by history textbooks. These women spend the duration of the play in limbo, between life and death, where they have remained for centuries.

Raeta is a senior in the theater arts department who wanted to take a closer look at the roles women have played in history. “I’ve always been a bit of a writer ever since high school, but just for fun really,”  Raeta said. “I have a bit of experience in spoken word too. Being in theater, I had an interest in playwriting.”

Raeta started working on her piece last Fall in Conboy’s play development class where she started with a monologue of Klara Hitler, a woman that no one talks about. “When I submitted my play, I wasn’t actually finished with it,” Raeta said. “Fringe Goes Long helps the playwright by seeing what the actors do with the scenes and just seeing the process helps.”

The program emphasizes on the completion of a script but also requires a staged reading in front of an audience. A production team works with the playwright the entire semester to act out the words and demonstrate possible improvements in dialogue, action or the plot. SF State alum Tessa Carter, who returned this year to direct Raeta’s piece, started working on the production in August and helped Raeta transform her words into a real stage production.

With limited budget and time, Fringe Goes Long is not considered an extravagant production, like SF State’s annual spring musicals. Conboy emphasized how everything is scavenged from previous productions, the costume closet or additional items members of the production can provide to dress the stage for the reading.

“I’ve seen this script from its beginning roots,” Carter said. “(Becky) is a talented writer with an exquisite insight into the feminist mind. There are so many possibilities for a piece as obscure and abstract as this.”

“She Was Here” is the last production to premiere in the program. Expecting a large crowd, the production will open theatre doors Dec. 8 for an open rehearsal and will formally premiere  Dec. 9 in the Studio Theatre at 7 p.m. The event is free to the public.