‘Dry Land,’ debuting Feb. 6 at the Hippodrome, tackles young female friendship and unwanted pregnancy

Going through high school as a teenage girl can be tough, but when faced with an unwanted pregnancy, exploring unconventional options may be the only answer.

The Hippodrome Theater will host a one-night reading of “Dry Land” on Monday, February 6th at 6pm as part of The Hipp Unplugged: A Staged Reading Series.

Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel, the play tackles the harsh reality of a 17-year-old girl who longs for a self-induced abortion.

Ella Romain, a student at the University of Florida’s College of Theater and Dance, plays the lead role of Amy, a 17-year-old Florida high school student who is desperate for an abortion in her high school locker room.

“I think this is a really important story, much bigger than mine,” Romain said.

According to Romain, the play ultimately focuses on the topic of female friendship, supporting each other in times of crisis regardless of age.

The play begins with Amy and Esther, played by Alina Snoo, having a conversation in a high school locker room. Mr. Romain informs her audience that the girls are not having intimate relationships.Amy is ashamed of her situation and she is too embarrassed to ask her best friend for help.

As the characters share trauma scenes together in the locker room, the mood quickly shifts to reviewing flashcards in preparation for a presentation.

Given Romain’s experience growing up as a teenager in Florida, and her closeness in age to her character, she believes that the play is a reflection of the human experience that everyone has in some way or another gone through a personal crisis. Say you’re working on it.

This is Romain’s first production at the Hippodrome, with Michelle Bellaber, a professor at the University of Florida and director of “Dry Land.”

Hippodrome company maker Bella Barr delved into the script for “Dry Land” in a script analysis course he taught in Spring 2022.

“I knew this play was something very special,” she said. What I noticed was how deeply the undergraduates were involved in the story and how much it affected them. It’s rare to find a play that feels like it’s written from the point of view of a young woman. ”

The play is a script reading, so it will be performed at the Hippodrome cinema. The actors began rehearsing on Sunday in preparation for the February 6th screening.

With a week to prepare for the show, Bellaber said the actors needed to be clear about what story they were telling. Actors and Bella Barr have to rely on their intuition and trust in talent, as they can’t typically spend four to five weeks preparing for a show.

Bellaber said he had no doubt that audiences would respond positively to “Dry Land.” In addition to the seasonal subscribers who have attended the show in her 50 years since the Hippodrome was founded, she believes the show will bring in a new crowd of people who have never attended a show at the Hippodrome. I’m here.

Olivia Bradshaw, stage manager of The Hipp Unplugged, said the staged readings included the basic elements of the production, such as lighting, projections and minimal sound cues. However, the focus is on the stage reading, with an emphasis on young characters and the abortion scene.

“We’re honoring stage reading while making these enhancements so that audiences can really invest in it,” she said.

On February 6th at 6pm, the actors of “Dry Land” will take to the stage at the Hippodrome Theatre. Since the show is part of The Hipp Unplugged: A Staged Reading Series, it will be minimally directed to enhance the serious nature of the play. (Khloe Spears/WUFT News)

According to Bradshaw, The Hipp Unplugged was developed to expand opportunities for minorities and to allow the Hippodrome to experiment with audiences on more controversial topics.

“It’s Florida and it’s abortion,” said Bradshaw. “It’s like walking into a community and saying, ‘How many people will show up? And can we do this in earnest in the future?”

“Dry Land” is the second show in the Hipp Unplugged series. Two more shows will follow, including “Really,” which debuts March 20, and a second show announced in June.

According to Hippodrome’s website, “Dry Land” may not be suitable for people under the age of 16 due to mature content and strong language.

Tickets are $10 for all ages and can be purchased at the Hippodrome website or at the box office on February 6th.

“We need to start introducing these topics to our audience,” said Bradshaw. “We are not hiding anything. The content is raw and intended to give the viewer a new perspective. It is made clear through the script that is intended to be graphically exposed.

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