I am a young, energetic writer with an M.A. in English and am looking for an opportunity to employ my craft across a variety of platforms. I am experienced at working with a multitude of people and genres, while honing skills highlighting an insightful attention to detail as an Adjunct Professor of English at a local university.
Imagine you are a healthy and vibrant eight-year-old. Suddenly you find yourself in the hospital being poked and prodded by insensitive doctors, unable to figure out what ravaged your immune system to the point where even the common cold is lethal. No longer are you allowed to run and play with friends, as fear keeps them at arm's length. People imagine the worst about your condition, because so little is known about this disease. How do you cope, when all the grown-ups answer all of your questions with, "I don't know?"
That's what happens to Benjamin in David Saar's play The Yellow Boat. A story based on Saar's own experience with his son Benjamin, a hemophiliac who was diagnosed with AIDS in the early 80s, when doctors didn't have any answers, let alone cures, for the young boy.
The IPFW Theatre Department performs The Yellow Boat on November 13-22 at the Studio Theatre in Kettler Hall on the IPFW campus. It's part of the 25 Anniversary of the Fort Wayne AIDS Task Force; to commemorate the milestone, area theaters were asked for their 2009-'10 season to include a play that dealt with an AIDS-related theme.
Benjamin finds comfort and solace in the refuge of his imagination. A box of crayons becomes his best friend. Red, Blue, Yellow, Purple, and Green are always ready to provide him the means to escape the confines of a dreary hospital room. Together Benjamin and his friends are able to create a world without pain or fear -- where anything is possible.
Despite the premise, The Yellow Boat is actually a hopeful, vibrant story -- qualities that, according to Jeff Casazza, weren't all that easy to find in a play dealing with this subject matter. He struggled to find the right play for the 25th anniversary effort, reading several scripts that, "were either dark for the sake of being dark or just so dark and depressing,"before he stumbled onto the story he wanted to direct. "I was drawn to how it (The Yellow Boat) celebrates life and has so much potential to be theatrical," says Casazza.
It is evident as Casazza blocks scenes and directs the players that he is completely at home on the stage and lights up like a little kid locked in a candy store when he starts talking about his craft. It is only natural that he would be drawn to Benjamin's dynamic story and indomitable spirit. Directing The Yellow Boat also allows Casazza to explore the new role as father with the birth of his first child, a little girl, named after his beloved sister. "Even before she was born she was a part of the process in preparing for The Yellow Boat," he says. It is from this perspective that he more deeply connects with the spirit of love and the beauty in life that unfolds as Saar celebrates the joy of Benjamin and not the darkness or sorrow of his son's predicament.