The Bird Boy, by Northwestern College junior Andrew Stam, Oskaloosa, Iowa, has been selected by New York playwright and screenwriter Colette (Johnson) Mazunik for performance during Northwestern’s 16th annual World Premiere Festival, which showcases student-authored scripts.
The full-length play will be performed in the England Theatre April 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. The show is free; seating is first-come, first-served.
Stam is directing the production, which he describes as a “play about a broken family and their unusual attempts to redefine the meaning of ‘home.’” At the center of the drama is a precocious, theatrical 11-year-old, Jeremiah—played by sophomore Tiemen Godwaldt, Oswego, N.Y.—who is trying to figure out who he is in relation to his peers and what’s left of his family.
Amidst a PG-13 level of family dysfunction that feels real because it is both heartbreaking and funny, Jeremiah explores an existence where even things that are odd can be beautiful and where he is appreciated for who he is—quirks, confusion and all. The least accepted, he is the most accepting. The most strange, he is the least concerned with notions of what a normal family should be like.
In choosing Bird Boy, Mazunik said, “I was impressed with the complexity and richness of the characters … and the honesty of the writing.” Mazunik is a 2000 graduate of Northwestern’s theatre program. She has an M.F.A. from the Actors Studio in New York City; her plays have been produced at schools, festivals and small theatres.
The Bird Boy is a work in progress, so staging and costumes will be simple and minimalist. In addition to Godwaldt, the show’s cast also includes seniors Sara Chipman, Burt, Iowa, and Anna Pitney, Wausau, Wis., and freshmen Megan Weidner, Elk Point, S.D., and Alex Wendel, Charles City, Iowa.