Plays as primary sources

Naomi Rodri '15, Production Assistant Intern

Major: History and Theater

Awards: Harriet Newhall Fellow

Internship Sponsor: Clubbed Thumb Productions

Clubbed Thumb commissions, develops, and produces funny, strange, and provocative new plays by living American writers. Since its founding in 1996, the company has earned five OBIES and presented plays in every form of development, including over 80 full productions.

The plays vary in style and content, but are always intermission-less, 90 minutes or under, and produced in New York City. They feature substantial and challenging roles for both men and women, are questioning, formally inventive, theatrical, and, somewhere in the text, they contain a sense of humor.

During my Production Assistant internship, I assisted with set construction, front-of-house duties, technical load-in's, strikes and opening night parties for all three shows of Clubbed Thumb’s annual Summerworks Festival. Additionally, I worked closely with the production team of the second show in the series, "Phoebe in Winter," and contributed to rehearsals and performances.

Her History major in action: Even though my internship did not directly relate to history/historical research, I found that I used many of the skills I have cultivated as a History major during my time with Clubbed Thumb.

In many ways, plays are similar to primary sources. A large part of the theatrical creative process is attempting to tease meaning out the written words of a play; actors and directors often approach a play the way a historian approaches a written document. Theatrical professionals constantly question what a play means, how it can be understood in the context it was written, who it was written for, what it says about both the author and the world at large.

During the rehearsal process for "Phoebe in Winter" I drew upon the critical and analytic skills fostered by my background in History to understand the play.