Student writes own show to direct

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Student writes own show to direct

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Making its debut, “Hedera University,” written and directed by senior Michaela Rodell, came to life in Green Room’s 2018 Student Showcase. The annual showcase provides the opportunity for members of the senior class to direct a show of their choice, and this year Rodell was able to produce a show of her own.

“Hedera University” is a satire of the modern day process of college admissions. Rodell’s show follows a group of students visiting one of the nation’s top Ivy League schools and witnessing the stress their students are under.

“College applications and admissions are daunting and expensive. Our higher education system, especially more prestigious schools, is often inaccessible due to cost and oftentimes puts too much pressure on students to succeed in traditional ways with high grades and test scores,” Rodell said.

The show takes a light- hearted comedic approach, rather than a serious one. The characters are exaggerated versions of students Rodell has witnessed in real life.

“The characters are all, besides the main character, caricatures of certain qualities about school or life in general that either frustrate me, that I find funny, or a little bit of both. The admissions counselor, for example, represents the pressure that is put on students while the two college students represent the effects of this pressure,” Rodell said. “Of course, the play is a satire, so all of these traits are exaggerated for comic effect. The name of the school is satirical as well- Hedera is the scientific genus name for ivy.”

Rodell believes that it was better to have the show funny so the audience could find it easier to connect to.

“Humor is the way I manage stress. Maybe I have five college essays to write and just as many rejection letters on their way, but if I make a joke about it, it doesn’t seem so horrible,” Rodell said, “Laughter is so important: It makes us feel connected, and it gives us so much joy. Satire is an ideal form of criticism because of this- It brings people together rather than pushing them apart, and it gives all of us an outlet to laugh about our problems together, all while pointing out serious and real issues.”

At the heart of the show, Rodell wants to spread a message to her audience about the meaning of success.

“I want the audience to remember to not take themselves too seriously, even when something like college seems too stressful. School and learning is important, but grades and scores don’t define your worth. You don’t have to be the best in order to be happy and successful,” Rodell said. “Above all, follow your gut feeling to an extent. How you feel is important, and your happiness in whatever you choose to do should be your priority. It doesn’t have to be stressful.”

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