Off the Lake Productions to perform first student-written play

Off the Lake Productions’ “Night of One Acts” features “Oh Dear God” written by Ohio State Student Eva Scherrer. Credit: Courtesy of Abby McNickle

For the first time in its history, Off the Lake Productions will perform a play written by an Ohio State student.

Off the Lake’s “Night of One Acts” will take place in the Baker West Performance Space Friday at 7 pm and Saturday at 1 pm and 7 pm The lineup will consist of student Eva Scherrer’s “Oh Dear God” and Werner Trieschmann’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned by Being in a Bad Play,” according to the Off the Lake Facebook page.

Scherrer, a third-year in history and political science, said she wrote “Oh Dear God” — the first play she had ever written — in a playwriting class at Ohio State last year.

“This class specifically was just such a lovely community of other creatives who were just trying stuff out, throwing stuff on the wall, see what sticks, and so I’ve never really written anything before this,” Scherrer said.

Abby McNickle, a third-year in integrated language arts/English education and the Peer Theater co-chair of Off the Lake, said they were in the same playwriting class as Scherrer and they chose to put on her play after asking for script submissions from the class.

“Her work is so poignant,” McNickle said. “It’s so beautifully written.”

“Oh Dear God” is about a teenage girl adjusting to a public high school after years of being educated in a Catholic school setting, Scherrer said.

“She is clearly blossoming into this new world and new phase of her life, but also trying to reckon with her connections to the Catholic church and that community,” Scherrer said. “There’s just a lot of tension between the new world that she’s entered and the previous atmosphere and community that she’s known.”

Scherrer said her inspiration to write “Oh Dear God” was rooted in some of her own experiences attending Catholic school.

“This is all I’ve known for a significant portion of my childhood and my life as a whole, and now I’m moving past it, and it’s just this really strange feeling of familiarity, but also there’s comfort and tension,” Scherrer said.

This is the first time a student’s play will be produced by Off the Lake, and Scherrer said she felt empowered when she found out “Oh Dear God” was selected to be put into production.

“It no longer just exists in my room,” Scherrer said. “It meant enough to other people for them to be like, ‘I would appreciate exploring this in a physical space and bringing it to life,’ so that was a nice moment.”

Meghan Geraghty, a second-year in English and philosophy and the director of “Oh Dear God,” said she was less concerned with her and Scherrer’s visions of the show not aligning and more about the pressure of doing justice to the never-before- seen play.

“This isn’t just some random one-act we found on the online catalogs of scripts and things that have been performed tens of thousands of times,” Geraghty said. “This is an original play that I am responsible for producing the first-ever showing of. It was sort of left to me, but Eva, from the jump, was like, ‘This is my script, but this is your show.’ ”

In addition to writing the play, Scherrer said she has played smaller roles in its overall production, such as helping with casting decisions and sitting in on a rehearsal.

“I think if I had the chance to direct it, I would have gotten way too much in my head and would have been like, ‘Is this something people actually want to see?’ Scherrer said. “It would almost feel too self-indulgent to have total control over the creative aspect of it.”

Mary Harris, a fourth-year in arts management and president of Off the Lake, said there will be a facilitated dialogue after the two plays to allow the audience to have a conversation with the cast and crew.

“Even having the dialogue about ‘Oh Dear God,’ I think that would be a good conversation for somebody that might be having some sort of self-realization about religion or their identity in any other way,” Harris said.

Off the Lake’s “Night of One Acts” will have 30 in-person seats available on a first-come, first-served basis for each showing, and the event will be livestreamed on Off the Lake’s Youtube channel.

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