By Kate Gersten
Directed by Laura Savia
Produced by F*It Club
Nomination: Kate Gersten is nominated for Outstanding Original Short Script
photos by Whitney Anne Adams and David Morea
About this Production
F*It Club is a film and theater production company. We create short plays, short films, and short-term events, with the goal of bringing both ease and fun back to entertainment. We are best known for the annual, multiple award-winning, series of world premiere, commissioned short plays around a central theme known as The Spring Fling. This year's Spring Fling was themed "First Love," and Kate Gersten's play of the same name ("First Love") is about three teenage girls who share their views on friendship and romance at a sleepover.
Playwright Kate Gersten, Director Laura Savia and Actor and Producer Allyson Morgan talk about their work on this production that relives those awkward, innocent, sincere and endearing teenage years.
What attracted you to this project?
Allyson: This is the 4th year of The Spring Fling and every year we have some of the most diverse, challenging, and hilarious one-act work around created by playwrights who are primarily known for their full-length pieces. This project continues to build community and bridge interpersonal and professional relationships among actors, writers, directors, and designers that didn't previously exist.
Kate: I knew when I was asked to write this piece that I wanted to write about my best friends since childhood and how, in all of our adolescent musings on teenage crush/love feelings, the relationships between our parents (a couple of us had parents divorce in our teen years, leading us to question our faith in love), and then the intimacy that best friends share at that age, that I wanted to explore how our real first loves were actually each other.
Laura: I have been wanting to work with Kate Gersten for a long time. Her writing is unbelievably fresh and honest, and captures the voice of many women in my generation.
What was your favorite part of the production?
Allyson: We assemble a rockstar team of kind, generous, good-humored, patient, creative actors, writers, and directors. Working with this team makes me a better actor and producer every year.
Kate: When I went to the dress rehearsal, I saw how the three girls acting in the piece could relate to it, and our wonderful director Laura Savia could relate to it as well, and I realized how universal it was even though it's so specific to my personal experience. It was very exciting to see that come to life.
Laura: My favorite part of this production was getting to know the three actors, Emma Galvin, Allyson Morgan, and Ebonée Noel. During our (brief) table work, we all shared stories from our tween years. Everyone came to the table open and ready to share - we laughed a lot and also remembered what a tough age that is!
What was the most challenging part of working on this production?
Allyson: As the executive producer and an actor in one of the pieces every year, I always struggle to find a balance between administration and creativity, but I do think that with the help of our company members and my associate producer, Mara Kassin, I learn a little more every year about how to be better at doing both simultaneously.
Kate: I honestly didn't experience much challenge with this because the subject matter felt so natural.
Laura: Creating a clear and consistent physical vocabulary that would tell a story with very minimal tech was challenging. We devised a lot of dead-end ideas that we discarded before getting to the final blocking.
What was the craziest part of working on this production?
Allyson: We lost our space 4 weeks before opening night and we STILL made it work - with a nomination to boot!
Kate: Just that I had to tell my (still to this day) best friends Becky and Anya that I was writing about our old midnight girl talk masturbation confessions!
Laura: We watched videos of little girls dancing to Beyoncé videos and tried to imitate them ourselves. We also did tween girl essential gesture work while dancing to pop songs - some of the gestures included cupping our boobs and gyrating the way little girls do when they're imitating music videos. As four grown women doing this, we couldn't get through it without breaking out into laughter.
What did you want the audience to take away from your production?
Allyson: We want to remind audiences, particularly audiences under 40, that theater can and should be fun and just as immediately gratifying as any other binge watching like Hulu or Netflix. It's the best kind of live entertainment, because if you don't like one piece, you're on to the next relatively quickly. Plus, you share your experience with a room full of others and can have a dialogue in real time about what you've just seen.
Laura: I wanted the audience to remember a friendship that was their own "first love" -- to be reminded of the sheer force and fun of a best-friendship at that pivotal age, and how the daily trials and tribulations of middle school actually paled in comparison to it.