Elon University’s club for student playwrights, NewWorks, is producing “Cardboard Boxes,” written by junior Laney Lynch.
Lynch wrote the play throughout her sophomore year and now, “Cardboard Boxes” will have its opening night at 5 p.m. on Nov. 3 — with additional performances at noon on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 and a 5 p.m. performance on Nov. 4 — in the Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre. Tickets are free and can be reserved online through PhoenixCONNECT.
Junior Margo Buchanan is the technical director for NewWorks and said she hopes the audience sees the effort students put into producing a show, especially one that is entirely student-written, designed and directed.
“I'm working on it from the ground up and there's not a Broadway show that you can go read about, so everything is super organic,” Buchanan said. “Everything that's happening in the space on the stage is made, bought or done by students.”
“Cardboard Boxes” follows a group of college students in a film club learning who they are and how to be true to themselves. Lynch said she wanted the dialogue to feel true to college students and their experiences. The play is filled with references to popular movies and a plot-relevant love of Beyoncé. Lynch said she tweaked the script in August to update some of the pop culture references, including Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour.”
Freshman Amelia Brinson said it was refreshing to portray a character that had similar mannerisms to her.
“It's definitely just college kids talking. I feel like I've said half the things I say in there in my real life,” Brinson said.
Nov. 3 will not be the first time the Elon community is introduced to “Cardboard Boxes,” which had a public stage reading Feb. 17 as a part of the university’s first LGBTQ+ arts festival, “Luminosity.” Lynch said the script has gone through changes since then and said she is excited for Elon to see it as a fully produced play.
While writing the play, Lynch said she wanted to explore the nuances of being LGBTQ+ in college.
“Some people are out. Some people have been out, some people are recently on the journey of self discovery and acceptance and I was like, ‘How do I negotiate that in a plot?’” Lynch said.
In the show, Brinson’s character Aji is an out-and-proud lesbian navigating her own journey and helping her friends as they learn to embrace their own identities.
“I didn’t choose to be gay, but I did choose to have my own voice in my story,” Brinson’s character says in the show.
As an LGBTQ+ student herself, Brinson said being in “Cardboard Boxes” has been an empowering experience.
“I feel like there's this thing where all big queer media has this idea of it has to be really gritty and dark and sad and showcase all the horrible, horrible things,” Brinson said. “This show — it's really fun and silly and you get to see queer kids being queer, being fun and silly and having a great time. There are some aspects of it that are touching and heartfelt, but at the same time, it's really just fun and exciting to see.”