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The University Star

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Theater students to perform original written play

Theatre junior Jaden Petty (Left) and production sophomore Stephanie Wilson (Right) rehearse a dance-party scene, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Stephanie Wilson, a theatre sophomore, wrote her novel “Sera and Sam” at age 13 and has since molded it into an original script set to hit the stage March 23-24 at The Theatre Center.

Before attending college, Wilson originally wrote “Sera and Sam” as a detailed book following the main character Sera’s inner dialogue. After taking a dramatic writing class for her major, Wilson was inspired to turn her story into a performable script.

“I’ve always like been in love with creating stories,” Wilson said. “I was writing and acting from a very young age and… that and singing are like my greatest passions in life.”

COSMO Theatre Troupe, a student-run theater production organization, accepted Wilson’s pitch for “Sera and Sam”, allowing her story to come to life in a full stage production and bridging her passions for acting and writing.

Wilson grew up acting from a young age because of her mother’s influence. Wilson’s mother Nicoletta Mondellini was a professional actress who starred in telenovelas in the ’90s through the early 2000s.

“She’s my biggest inspiration,” Wilson said. “I got the acting bug from her.”

Wilson started her acting career in summer camps as a child and starred in a commercial at age 12, inspiring her to pursue acting and theater more seriously. After joining a choir in middle school, Wilson combined her love for singing and acting by joining the theater club in high school.

“Sera and Sam” follows Sera as she struggles with unrequited love, her home life and high school. Sera is based on Wilson’s 15-year-old self and Sam is based on Wilson’s crushes she had as a teenager. Wilson drew inspiration from her family and friends as well.

“As I finished [the story], it turned into more of a story about sisterhood and then friendship,” Wilson said.

In her journey of transforming “Sera and Sam” into a play, the cast and crew have helped shape the story into what it is today through creative collaboration.

“[The cast] ended up putting a little bit of themselves into the characters and taking the character sin the direction that I didn’t think they would,” Wilson said. “I am impressed with [them] every day.”

Averleigh Fisher, performance and production sophomore and director of “Sera and Sam,” faced unique challenges working with an original script for the first time. As a director, Fisher usually seeks inspiration from other performances of a play but since “Sera and Sam” is an original production there’s nothing to reference.

“It’s also really daunting because you can do anything that you want to, and you can take it any direction,” Fisher said.

Due to the originality of the play, the cast and crew took creative liberties to adapt “Sera and Sam” into what it is today. Fisher and Wilson collaborate to ensure the script is accessible for the stage, removing some scenes due to casting limitations and tweaking other scenes to make them more stage-friendly.

Jaden Petty, a theatre junior, is starring as the character Sam. Petty worked with original scripts in the past, however, Wilson’s openness to collaborating with her cast and crew allowed him to make the character of Sam his own.

“I’ve gotten to build this character to be me and let my personality shine kind of through the character,” Petty said.

Petty applauds Wilson’s ability to embrace changes in the story and praises her talent.

“[Wilson is] always in a positive mood too, no matter what kind of challenges we’re having to face,” Petty said. “She has made it such an incredibly easy process, and I’m so glad that this is the first project I’ve got to work on with her.”

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