Student’s Original Play ‘Seagirl’ Highlights Creativity and Feminist Issues

By Michelle Leibowitz, Bloc Reporter 

“Seagirl,” a student-original play focused on feminist issues in the home and workplace in its opening night at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center March 29.

Sam Mauceri, a junior Arabic studies and theatre double major, originally composed and directed the play.

The piece follows protagonist Andesine and her quest to find herself during a time when women were not considered equal to men.

“I was inspired by the way the ‘50s looked beautiful and the women were gorgeous, but the politics were really f—-,” Mauceri said. “That really impacts a woman coming into herself.”

Throughout the play, Andesine resents the cookie-cutter lifestyle her mother approves of, which includes looking perfect at all times, having proper table manners and marrying a rich man.

Andesine’s mother encourages her other daughter, Obsidian, who works at a law firm, to use her position as a paper sorter to meet a man.

Despite her mother’s wishes, Andesine chooses to join a radical group of women who listen to punk rock and protest what they believe to be injustices against females.

“I feel like a light just lit up in my chest,” Andesine said, after spending her first night with the group.

Jess Plaskon, a sophomore genetics and dance double major, plays Flint, the leader of the feminist radical group.

“This show made me feel alive,” she said. “‘Seagirl’ was honestly the most memorable experience I’ve had at the University of Maryland.”

On Saturday, the play opened to a crowd of approximately 60 people at 7:30 p.m.

Joshua Hall, a freshman letters and sciences major, had never seen a student performance prior to Seagirl.

“I’m very impressed with the writing,” he said. “It’s not something I expected from a student production.”

The play is dubbed “Seagirl” as Andesine feels like she is swimming in an imaginary fishbowl, the narrator noted.

When Andesine feels torn between what society wants and her alternative lifestyle, she dances with fluid motions, reaching her arms out from side-to-side as if being pulled in different directions.

A pre-show discussion led by Mauceri delved into the negative perspectives women harbor toward themselves.

“Women hate themselves because of everything around us,” Riley Bartlebaugh, who helped develop the play.

An open discussion led by four female panelists focused on “internalized misogyny,” meaning women who absorb sexist messages and feel inferior to men.

The panel juxtaposed how women go to the gym to make themselves smaller, while men attend the gym to get larger.

The panel referenced singer Beyoncé to showcase a strong woman in the entertainment industry, as she has an all-female band.

Bartlebaugh posed a final statement to close the discussion.

“I hope it got your mind working and blood boiling,” she said.

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