this page contains some information about and photos of my undergraduate thesis production, a one-act play written and directed by me and titled light at night. it was written more or less between september 2006 and january 2007, and was produced in march 2007.
Light at Night, a playwriting thesis written and directed by senior literature-theatre major Stacia Torborg, follows the story of college student Sarah as she struggles to navigate the unknown spaces between dream and reality, between love and indifference, between living and dying. It's a play about making decisions, about learning to ask the right questions and about stumbling towards fulfillment in spite of (or perhaps because of) the people in your life.
In an article written in 1972, Marjorie G. Perloff says that Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar, "has become for the young of the early seventies what Catcher in the Rye was to their counterparts of the fifties: the archetypal novel that mirrors, in however distorted a form, their own personal experiences, their sense of what Irving Howe calls 'the general human condition.'" Esther Greenwood's struggles, Perloff suggests, are "simply a stylized or heightened version of the young American girl's quest to forge her own identity, to be herself rather than what others expect her to be." I did not have The Bell Jar in mind when I began writing Light At Night, and in fact had not read it in years, but I have since developed an intimacy with the book - and so has my play. Though written in 1972, Perloff's thesis is, I believe, still applicable today. Esther, approaching her college graduation and adulthood, is confronted by a myriad of possible futures. She uses the metaphor of a fig tree to describe her resulting paralysis:
As Perloff points out, this is "a malaise that is hardly confined to schizophrenics." A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Commons at lunchtime with a few friends. I mentioned something about having decided not to write my thesis' research chapter about schizophrenia, and my friends said, "but your play's main character is schizophrenic." I reacted with surprise. "The audience will think she is, anyway," they told me. I will, of course, let you draw your own conclusions, but I will remind you that drama, like any writing, may make use of figurative language, and that in theatre, as in any art, everything may not be exactly as it seems.