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Shame and memory are major themes in Studio 58’s new production

Mortified, written by Amy Rutherford, challenged actors to

From left: Hannah Pearson, Margaret Onedo and Lauren Preissl. Submitted photo by Studio 58.
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Reported by Agazy Mengesha

The writer of a new Studio 58 play says her latest work explores shame and memory, subjects she’s wanted to tackle for years.

Mortified, written by Amy Rutherford, centers around a thirteen-year-old girl on the cusp of adolescence who’s in an abusive relationship with an older man.

“As a writer, I’m always interested in subject matter that maybe has a taboo element to it, or bringing silent voices out and into the light,” she said.

The play had its world premiere at Studio 58 on Nov. 15.

“At this particular show, there are themes of shame, which is sort of one of the most hidden destructive emotions we can feel,” Rutherford said.

Mortified a challenge to act through

Emily Jane King who plays Girl — the main character who has no name — said it was an interesting challenge to portray a character without an identity.

“It’s super interesting to approach a character like that because you have to build it up for yourself, so like myself and the other actress that plays the older version of this character, we gave her a name for ourselves,” King said.

“We plotted out what her name is, and what her backstory is, we plotted that out with the director to make her feel like she is a real character, which she is very much is already in the script,” she said.

Although the play centres on Girl’s experiences, the show — which is loosely based on The Little Mermaid — has a large cast.

Anita Rochon, the director, said it was an exciting challenge to work with all 27 members of the cast.

When asked what she wanted to say to people who might avoid the play because they’re be cautious of the subject matter, Rochon said, “I would just say that there’s a lot of humanity and humor, and dynamic amazing performers, and so not to be scared of the topic.”

Mortified runs until Dec. 15.

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