UNH Junior's Play Chosen as One of the Best in the Country
By Erika Mantz
UNH News Bureau
February 15, 2001
DURHAM, N.H. -- University of New Hampshire junior Lindsay Joy had the 10-minute play she wrote for a class selected as one of the eight best in the country in the Northeast regional competition of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival last month.
ìLife, Love and a 7-11î was performed before an audience of hundreds in the festivalís regional competition held at UNH the last weekend in January. In its 32nd year, the festival promotes theater in college and universities and celebrates the best work. The competition is not limited to undergraduates, so Joy competed against graduate students from most of the Ivy League colleges in the country, as well as the best conservatories. More than 18,000 students from 600 academic institutions participate each year.
ìThis is a tremendous accomplishment,î says David Kaye, the UNH assistant theater professor who taught Joyís class. ìTo have any play produced is extremely difficult, but to have a play rise to these ranks says a great deal.î
Kaye, a playwright himself, attributes a lot of Joyís success to her theater training and ability to observe human nature and human behavior. ìHer talent is sheís able to bring that to the stage as an actor, and now as a playwright. I believe weíve never had a playwright selected for the region let alone go on to the Kennedy Center.î
In April, Joy will travel to Washington, D.C. for the national competition.
ìIíve always loved writing, but I donít think I ever let myself believe I was any good at it,î she says. ìI think writing almost bares more of you. A part of me would rather be nude on stage with no lines than to speak my own words.î
Acting since she was a junior high student in Hudson, Joy said she believes the root of good acting is to reveal as much truth and honesty. ìBut, the rejection that goes along with acting is easily explained. Itís easy to justify with superficial reasons, like you just werenít right for the part because your hair is the wrong color. With your words, it works or doesnít work because of what you wrote. Thereís nothing else to blame.î
In addition to being a full-time student and an active member of the theater community, Joy works full-time as a waitress and bartender at The Library Restaurant in Portsmouth. She returned to UNH last semester after two years off for personal reasons. It was during this time she started writing.
ìI auditioned and got into Boston University, but I couldnít afford it,î she says. ìMy freshman year I felt I was better than UNH, but Iíve come to realize thereís a freedom here that I wouldnít have elsewhere. I would have had to decide one or the other: acting or playwriting.î
Kaye believes Joyís award is ìa great testament to the virtues of liberal arts.î
ìIf Lindsay was a student at the Boston Conservatory or NYU or even Boston University, sheíd be an actor. She would be isolated to that and get tremendous classes, but she wouldnít be pushed to develop all of the other seeds of her abilities and talents. I think, in her own way, she had an advantage.î
ìIíll be sitting in a weather class hearing what happens in an equinox and Iíll think ëwhat a great idea for a play,í or file the information away because maybe one day one of my characters will be a scientist and heíll need to know this,î she says. ìIím here (at UNH) to experiment and explore, to try new things. I have the freedom to fail, and the forum to try things like playwriting.î