The teenage years are some of the most turbulent, joyous, traumatic, informative and unfettered times, whose imprint can last well into adulthood.
Issues and emotions experienced within that time frame are unique to that age group, and the creative paths they can forge for those who need to express themselves may produce some of the most thought-provoking art.
For two nights, Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14, Haddonfield Plays & Players will present “Teen One Act Play Showcase,” covering issues of identity, gender and more, which will be produced by theater veteran Nicole Lukaitis.
“I had my own theater company at one time, called the Lucky Nickle Theater Company. I directed and wrote for them, and when I closed up shop, I hopped on board with HP&P – this was back in 2016,” she said. “I’ve done two pieces there already, and I direct stuff when I can. The last thing I did (acting-wise) was that I played Mother in ‘A Christmas Story.’”
Lukaitis was eager to put on a show featuring work from those ages 14-to-18 because, in her view, their access to creativity is still free, and its subject matter was geared toward the high school experience.
“They have no inhibitions; they’re probably the most creative people I know. They just kind of let it all go, they feel free and want to express themselves at that age. They process their inhibitions through their writing. I enjoy working with teens because that’s who I worked with a lot when I ran my own company. It gives them time to learn because there’s a waiting period before they can work on Haddonfield’s main stage,” she said.
Though a heady subject for a certain segment of the population that might be interested in experiencing art through younger eyes, Lukaitis said she didn’t feel any need to alter, tone down or otherwise stifle the issues presented in the plays.
“The pieces that we received, and some were written by the actors, are addressing a variety of LGBTQ issues. We are embracing it. The kids are comfortable, they want to do the work and tell the stories, and so I’m more than happy to produce it. From what I’ve seen, the writing’s been good.”
When The Sun spoke to Lukaitis on Aug. 28, she said there are nine teens involved in the show, who are diligently working on pieces that are planned to be performed on both nights.
“My goal is to have at least eight one-acts for each performance. We have been going back and forth with this in production, since it depends on what works best for the kids,” Lukaitis said.
The showcase is expected to be held on Friday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. and lasting approximately two hours.
For more information about the show and others during the 2019-20 season, visit: https://www.haddonfieldplayers.com/. For tickets to the showcase, visit: https://tix5.centerstageticketing.com/sites/haddonfield/.