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Project Spotlight presents ‘As It’s Written’

Project Spotlight presents ‘As It’s Written’

Project Spotlight is producing a new work by theatre student Caroline Hull.

Parker is a successful screenwriter and director whose latest film just hit box offices across the country — her husband, Ethan, being one of the lead actors. She seems to have it all put together…or does she?

While people seem to enjoy her new thriller, it always seems to come back to the first film she ever wrote, a tragic love story called Not Exactly Friends. As the story progresses, we are shown Parker’s relationship with her ex-best friend, Robin, develop and change in both the past and present. It becomes clear that being famous is not all it’s cracked up to be, and that Parker would do almost anything to return to a place where she felt at home — if she doesn’t have to admit how she feels.

As It’s Written centers around themes of internalized homophobia, the pressures of fame and social anxiety. But, above all, it is the story of a queer woman navigating the concept of acceptance and comfortability in her own skin. This play contains adult themes and language.

The following Character Animation Shorts will be shown before this performance: Snacktime (2015), Ember (2013), Cuddlefish (2017)

Students can use code ILOVEUCF2022 for a $5 discount. Valid student ID required.

Playbill

As It’s Written

Caroline Hull, playwright

Jordan Zauha, director

 

Stage Manager: Shannon Motherwell
Assistant Stage Manager: Emma Baumer
Dramaturg: Gian Arellano
Scenic Designer: Adam Laws
Scenic Designer: David Jackson
Sound Designer: Erica Fox
Lighting Designer: Emily Ducanson
Props Designer: Reme Elias
Costume Designer: Valeria Cole
Graphic Designer: Keaton Jadwin
Sound Mixer/QLab Operator: Billy Banks

 

Crew:
Taylor Brown
Savannah Kutryb
Allison Young
Hilary Pardey-Hernandez
Hudson Cosgrove-Naftal
Stephanie Santiago

 

Cast:

Parker Lily NiCole McKenna
Robin Giovanna Borges
Ethan Jullien Aponte
Jordan Mays James Duncan
Agent Melissa Manrique
Kilpatrick Emily Joy Nardoni
Parker U/S Madeline Anderson
Robin U/S Izzy Ellis
Ethan U/S James Duncan
Supporting Swing Joseph Gans
Voiceover David Brescia

 

Caroline Hull’s new piece As It’s Written follows the struggles of modern-day screenwriter and director Parker Bridges and details events from her college life a decade earlier. Hull derives inspiration for her piece from the harsh scrutiny that celebrities face in the public eye, specifically those who are women and those who are queer; also inspired by the lack of proper representation for queer women, Hull speaks of the big issue in As It’s Written: the widespread grip of internalized homophobia experienced by young queer people.

Hull’s characters continuously fixate on their public image, reflecting the gossip-crazed early 2010s the past scenes in As It’s Written take place in - an era characterized by the rise of TMZ, an abundance of reality TV, and tabloid magazines; headlines commented on Jennifer Garner’s “envious figure” hidden under her casual clothes on a coffee run, and deemed an outing between Anne Hathaway and her husband as a fight due to her lack of smile. This type of attention was so normalized that on her talk show in 2013, Ellen DeGeneres created a game to play with an uncomfortable Taylor Swift as a way to slut shame her. Queer struggles only piled onto the obstacles female celebrities faced. Though great strides have been made in modern times, a Backstage article written in 2014 (around the same time of Parker’s rise to fame in the industry) states that “20 percent of gay men and 13 percent of lesbians working in film, television, and theater have experienced harassment, and more than half reported hearing hateful or discomforting comments,” further cementing how the entertainment industry at the time attempted to tear people down by whatever perceived flaw could be exploited.

In these same past scenes, Hull’s character Robin laments the lack of queer female stories in media. Queer representation in media has been infested with problematic storylines and tropes in recent history, with representation of queer women contatining its own unique hoard of problems. The first film to have overtly queer female overtones (though frustratingly ambiguous) was Mädchen in Uniform, a 1931 German film that focused on the relationship between an adult teacher and her student. Over the years, queer women have had to deal with romantic pairings indecipherable from platonic relationships, hypersexualization, and the fear of the “bury your gays” trope that routinely kills off queer characters in film and televison; the trope is so persistent among queer women, an Austrostraddle article originally published in 2016 details the death of every queer woman in media from 1976 to 2021. The list boasts 215 entries for characters who only make up a facet of those seen on screen, and all queer media is not made equally. In a 2014 article from Entertainment Weekly, GLAAD provides statistics that proved gay men were disproportionally represented in inclusive films in relation to their other queer community members: 64.7 percent versus 23.5. Thus, queer female representation in film is not only lacking but typically not substantial and healthy when actually present.

The celebrity culture of the early 2010s as well as the lack of positive queer female representation both contribute to the largest hurdle for Parker in As It’s Written: internalized homophobia, defined by a 2020 Psychology Today article as the culmination of “[taking] the biases, prejudices, and hatred towards gay folks reinforced by society… and [turning] these biases inward back on ourselves.” This mindset often leads to a plethora of mental health issues and feelings of shame in queer people, and lack of proper representation directly exacerbates this problem. How must queer women feel when they watch another show with no one like them? Or when their inclusion in movies and cartoons ends in them getting eaten by genetically mutated bears (Annihilation, 2016) or murdered by German robots (Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated, 2010-13)? Or when they are queerbaited and promised romance in trailers only to watch the movie and see the girls were only ever going to be friends (Pitch Perfect 3, 2017)? The messages society tells–or, in many cases, does not tell–queer women become imbedded in their very being and burden them for much of, if not all, their life. Thus, Hull’s As It’s Written ultimately offers an intimate account of famous screenwriter and director Parker Bridge’s life and asks the audience to tag along on her journey to grasp her own self-image.

– Gian Arellano, Dramaturg

Caroline Hull (Playwright) graduated from UCF with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies. Her past Project Spotlight scripts include Talkback, Apartment 143, Loving Passion, and Break (KCACTF Region IV’s John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play). As It’s Written was first developed through UCF’s Pegasus PlayLab. Her goal is to become an educator and develop scripts for both high school and college students. 

Jordan Zauha (Director) is a third-year candidate in the Theatre MFA Themed Experience program. At Theatre UCF he has been a part of two Project Spotlight productions: An Apology (Director) and Committed (Playwright). After working on new play development in New York City as a performer, Jordan now develops immersive experiences and theatre, focusing upon show direction and narrative design. Jordanzauha.com 

Shannon Motherwell (Stage Manager) is a graduating senior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. She has been involved with Project Spotlight for her entire Theatre UCF career and currently serves as the organization's Artistic Director. Shannon plans to pursue her MFA in Educational Theatre before beginning her career as a theatre educator.  

Emma Baumer (Assistant Stage Manager) is a freshman working toward a BFA in Emerging Media and a minor in Theatre. This is her first full-length production at UCF with Project Spotlight. She previously served as the stage manager for Rigged as part of Project Spotlight’s Ten-Minute Play Competition. 

Gian Arellano (Dramaturg) is a junior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. He previously served as dramaturg for Theatre UCF’s production of The Wolves in the fall. Gian is involved with Project Spotlight as a playwright, leadership trainee, and now dramaturg. He is also an improviser for Playback UCF and The Improv Academy. 

Adam Laws (Scenic Designer) is a sophomore in the BFA Theatre Design and Technology Program. He has worked on several Theatre UCF Productions, including Indecent (Assistant Production Electrician) early this year. Outside of theatre he has designed and built multiple escape rooms and haunted houses in North Carolina. 

David Jackson (Scenic Designer) is a first-year transfer student in the BFA Design and Technology program. His work can be seen on the Theatre UCF stage in First Date (Spotlight 1). Others include on Eastern Florida State College's stage in A Comedy of Errors (Antipholus, Prop Designer) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Demetrius, Scenic Assistant). Additional work with The Ensemble Company and over 220 hours within UCF's Scene Shop. 

Emily Duncanson (Lighting Designer) is an incoming BFA Design and Technology student. UCF credits include Project Spotlight's Fall 2021 season (Lighting Designer). Other theatre credits include Ballet Vero Beach’s The Nutcracker (Production Assistant), and Vero Beach Opera’s Carmen (Stage Crew). She is excited to see what the future holds, as she continues to move forward with the tech program. 

Erica Fox (Sound Designer) is a Sophomore in the BFA Theatre Design & Technology program. Theatre UCF credits include Knights’ Ghostlight Podcast (Asst. Sound Designer), Dear Helena (Sound Designer), The Wolves (Asst. Sound Designer), and Shrek: The Musical (Audio 2). Other UCF credits include Celebrate TYA's 24-Hour Play Festivals (Sound Designer) and Project Spotlight's full 2021-2022 season (Sound Designer). @efox_theatre 

Billy Banks (Sound Mixer/QLab Operator) is a first-year transfer student and an incoming BFA Acting major. His Theatre UCF credits include Indecent (U/S Avram). His Project Spotlight credits include The Fish (Swing). Other credits include Footloose (Ren), Grease (Roger)  and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Philostrate). He is also involved in the Improv Academy on campus. 

Reme Elias (Props Designer) is a senior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. She was the props manager for Theatre UCF’s Welcome to the Moon. This is her second semester working with Project Spotlight.  

Valeria Cole (Costume Designer) is a junior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. She has worked as the Costume Designer for various ten-minute plays and one acts. Theatre UCF credits are Welcome to the Moon (Wardrobe Supervisor) and Sombra del Sol (Assistant Costume Designer). She just finished working on a horror film Red Tide Massacre (Assistant Wardrobe) and is costume designing more films in 2022. She is the 2021 Fusion Fest Fashion Winner. 

Lily McKenna (Parker) is a junior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. She has previously been seen in the Theatre UCF production of Urinetown (Ensemble, U/S Little Sally), and in Project Spotlight's Apartment 143 (Max) and Committed (Shannon). Other theatre credits include Tragedians Anonymous (Lady Anne). She is involved with Project Spotlight and works as a Makeup Designer for youth theatre.  

Giovanna Borges (Robin) is a fourth-year transfer in the BFA Acting program. She has previously been seen on the Theatre UCF stage in The Rover (Florinda) and can be seen in films Maligna and Egghead & Twinkie this summer. Giovannaborges.com 

Jullien Aponte (Ethan) is a senior in the BFA Acting program. He’s proud to be making his Project Spotlight debut with so many longtime friends and collaborators. Favorite stage credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio), Richard III (Buckingham), The Tempest (Ferdinand), and Mojada (Jason). As a Director he works with Musical Traditions, a Florida based non-profit bringing cultural enrichment through traditional music. JullienAponte.com 

James Duncan (Jordan Mays, U/S Ethan) is a freshman in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. He has been seen before on the Project Spotlight stage in An Apology (Ben). He loves Project Spotlight for encouraging student theater and hopes to continue being involved in it. 

Melissa Manrique (Agent) is a senior in the BFA Acting program. This is her second time performing in a Project Spotlight show. Other Project Spotlight credits include Committed (Dr.), Meat-Cute (Director), T-19EC (Director) and Of Hawks and Sparrows (AD). Theatre UCF credits include The Grumpiest Boy in the World (Giant/Bird) and Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula). She dedicates this performance to her father, who passed away in July. 

Emily Joy Nardoni (Kilpatrick) is a junior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. She has previously performed in Theatre UCF’s Pegasus PlayLab production of As It’s Written (Jordan, Agent, Kilpatrick). Project Spotlight credits include The Fish (Sam) and the Something Borrowed, Something Blue (Rosalina). She is seeking a minor in Performing Arts Administration and has taught children’s theatre and directed youth productions. 

Madeline Anderson (U/S Parker) is a Junior in the Music Program. This is her third year performing with Project Spotlight. Previous credits include Birdbrains (Jules), The Underground Game (Petra, Agent Miller) and The Fish (Ollie). YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram: @madelineandersonofficial 

Izzy Ellis (U/S Robin) is a freshman in the BFA Acting (Pending) program. This is her Project Spotlight debut. Other theatre credits include Matilda: The Musical (Bruce Bogtrotter) and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Charlotte). She is involved with Project Spotlight and Latin Rhythm at UCF as well. 

Joseph Gans (Supporting Swing) is a transfer student in the B.A. Theatre Studies Program. He has been seen on the Project Spotlight stage in Poltergeist (Male Swing). Other theatre credits include Admissions (Charlie) and The Comedy of Errors (Dromio). He is involved in Project Spotlight and is a volunteer for BSA.  

Hudson Cosgrove-Naftal (Crew) is a sophomore in the BS Psychology program. This is her first production with UCF Celebrates the Arts. She has been involved with Project Spotlight, assistant directing We Begin in a Tavern in the Spring One-Act Festival. She looks forward to continuing her involvement with Theatre UCF in the future. 

Allison Young (Crew) is a senior double majoring in Entertainment Management and Theatre Studies. Her previous credits include Noises Off! (Brooke Ashton), Side Story (Co-Director/ Stage Manager), and High Tea with Disharmony (Knibbs). She has been involved with Project Spotlight all four years at UCF and has been an intern for both the David A. Straz Center for Performing Arts as well as Powerstories Theatre.   

Savannah Kutryb (Crew/Wardrobe Assistant) is a junior at UCF majoring in Clinical Psychology, with a minor in Theatre. She has been seen in Project Spotlight productions Casino Heist (Casey) and We Begin in a Tavern (Sid). Other theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors (Angelo/Emilia), Antigone (Ismene), and The Busy Body (Scentwell). This is her first production for UCF Celebrates the Arts. 

Hilary Pardey-Hernandez (Crew) is a sophomore in the B.A. Theatre Studies program. She was featured in Theatre UCF Fall 2020 virtual shows, Mojada (Josefina) and Pegasus Playlab, Dear Helena (Stage Directions, U/S Tessa, U/S Helena). Project Spotlight credits include Remnant of the Imposter (Mother/Board 1) and the 10-minute play Rigged. She is currently in leadership training for Project Spotlight. @hpardey 

Stephanie Santiago (Crew) is a senior in the B.A. Theatre Studies program with a minor in Mass Communication. Previous credits include Celebrate TYA’s reading of Elviaje De Beatriz (Mama/Queen Reina) and Something Borrowed, Something Blue (Swing) with Project Spotlight.  

 Taylor Brown (Crew) is a first-year transfer and is currently an undecided major. She has recently been featured in Project Spotlight's One Act Festival in Something Borrowed, Something Blue (Tour Guide). She is very excited to be a part of this show!