Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Shoshannah Boray

12: Shoshannah Boray

Develop a new play about trauma, society, and family

Shoshannah’s plays are about love, courage and embracing the complexity of who we are. Her plays have been produced, staged, and recognized nationwide. Most recently, Shoshannah’s four play series about siblings, featuring The First Sister Trip (2022 VT State Winner, Clauder, 2021 BAPF Semi-Finalist, and 2020 Finalist (but pandemic cancelled) B Street Theatre Festival, was presented at Spotlight Theatre (VT). Other plays include Me Talking 2 Me (Theatre Odyssey One-Act Festival 2021); The Most Important Thing in the World (2022, Spotlight Theatre, VT; 2019, Drama Workshop, NY, published by YouthPLAYS); Strawberry Moon (2018 VT State Winner, Clauder Competition); “Escaping Warsaw” (NYC, Los Angeles, VT, Pittsburgh and UVM’s Royal Tyler Theatre and the Center for Holocaust Studies); Water People (Best Original Script, Maryland One-Act Festival); “Mensch” (JET Festival of New Plays): Cassandra Syndrome (2020 BHTG Competition for Youth Theatre 2nd Prize; 2021 VAC Development Grant); Step-S.

Project description

My project is to create a play development workshop for my new play, The Phlebotomist’s Feast. The story of a teacher who has left her beloved job teaching middle school English to be a Phlebotomist, this play explores societal pressures both at the public level, and in the private family system. At the heart of this play is the impact of an older generation that prefers to discount trauma both in our schools and in our private lives in order to not rock the boat, appease people’s certainty of their own righteousness, and allow those less affected to continue free of responsibility, action, or any curbing of their desires. Set at a family’s annual Thanksgiving feast, it maintains a veneer of festivity and community. But underneath, past and present trauma seep out, urging some to re-evaluate their choices and others to double down on their self-affirming version of the world. At the play’s core is a young family that is quietly making personal choices that value love, connection, and mutual support above all else.

The goal is to workshop my play with skilled, professional and savvy actors, asking and exploring the questions needed to make the play successful. Does the play feel like a comedy, or a nightmare? Would doubling some roles take away from the impact of the serious issues and make it more of a farce, or would the intentional doubling reinforce the plays message, while also making it more producible? Do we feel empathy for the central characters? Does Mom invoke admiration, or disgust? Do I need to further develop/ explore/ explain the school shooting that happens before the timeline of the play? Does the parallel between the school shooting and the childhood trauma of the two central characters connect effectively? What is the impact of the characters that change their attitudes and views during the play? We’ll explore these questions, as well as staging, direction and performance, to prepare the play for professional level production.

This workshop will culminate in a public staged reading of the play with a simple set and lighting, followed by a moderated audience discussion and reception to celebrate the artists’ work and to encourage continuing connection and discussion, building community for future workshops. After this event, I will use what I’ve learned to polish the script further. The ultimate goal for this project is a tight, stage-ready script of The Phlebotomist’s Feast that meets all of my goals for this story. It is also to continue to grow a model and momentum for future play development workshops.

Since this play happens to be a Thanksgiving themed play, I plan to present it around Thanksgiving.

Media Sample 1

The Phlebotomist: An Excerpt. “The clip of The Tortoise and the Hare is an example of the kind of project I intend to do with The Phlebotomist, which is the excerpt.”

Media Sample 2

The Tortoise and the Hare. “An example this project is based on.”

Media Sample 3

CV. “This shows my past work.”

Return to candidates list

Acadia Klepeis August 3, 2023