Sunday, April 18, 2010

Somerville Playwright Colleen Hughes Writes a Drama Set in Teele Square.

Somerville Playwright Colleen Hughes Writes a Drama Set in Teele Square.

By Doug Holder

Somerville playwright Colleen Hughes walked into the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square on a cold and rainy April Saturday morning and navigated the maze of chattering poets of the Bagel Bards, so we could conduct an interview.

Hughes, 27, is a native of Somerville, and is working on her MFA in Playwriting at Boston University. Her first public presentation of her work will be at the Boston University Playwrights’ Theatre April 23, 2010 at 7PM. The play is titled “The Prayer Bargain.”

Hughes has lived all her life in Somerville, and currently occupies the attic apartment in her familial home in Teele Square. She attended high school at Arlington Catholic, and is a graduate of Holy Cross. Like many artists, native or not, Hughes has had a long love affair with our artist-friendly city. And for her immediate future anyway, she plans to stay put.

Hughes has been influenced by playwrights as diverse as Samuel Beckett, and August Wilson, and has studied with the likes of Kate Snodgrass and Melinda Lopez. Hughes wrote “The Prayer Bargain,” with Somerville as the setting. She told me: “ I wanted to partly deal with the way Somerville has changed over the years, and the issues that surround that.”

The play is set in the Teele Square area, and the players are a mother, father, daughter, and three boys. The girl comes home because of a broken engagement. She falls into the family web of problems: booze, unemployment, and stuff of that ilk. It all comes to a boiling point on Christmas Day. The daughter finds herself in the vital role of helping her dysfunctional family.

Although the play is not strictly autobiographical, Hughes knows her characters well, and certain elements are gleaned from her own life.

Hughes, who works as an editor of the “Cell Press” in Cambridge, plans to keep writing after she graduates. She will keep the day job, hopefully do some teaching, and submit to festivals… all the things young writers do to cut their teeth in the competitive arts market.

One evening, late at night, you might see a light burning in an attic apartment, perhaps in Teele square, and that might be Hughes—burning the midnight oil.

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