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BWW Blog: YOU ARE ENOUGH - an Original Yale University Production

YOU ARE ENOUGH, a collection of three original one-acts, opens tonight. This will be the third time playwright Dylan Schifrin witnesses two of his works come to life. What makes it more phenomenal is that he is only a sophomore in college.

Schifrin had already seen the two one-acts "Exceptional Childhood Center" and "Gwendolyn" produced at his high school, Harvard-Westlake, and then at The Blank Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival. The third play, "Replay," is making its world premiere at Yale University. The new play underwent multiple drafts-as a work-in-progress, it was extremely helpful for Schifrin to see it come to life immediately.

"This is the first time I've seen it," said Schifrin. "It's interesting to see how it differs and yet, in many ways, is similar to my vision. I've discovered a lot about the characters of 'Replay' that I would not necessarily have thought of during the writing process."

BWW Blog: YOU ARE ENOUGH - an Original Yale University Production Featuring over-achieving four-year-olds, a romantic relationship between a man and a cactus, and a chem major trying to erase her memory respectively, the three acts are sure to be hits with the audience in their uniqueness and humor. Most of Schifrin's work includes elements of comedy-humor, after all, makes drama more powerful..

"Humor is contingent on vulnerability in the performer-audience relationship. There's a lot of trust that goes into it," said Schifrin. "The vulnerability that humor lends makes the audiences more receptive to greater emotional devices within the play."

YOU ARE ENOUGH director Danny Smooke, a senior at Yale, agreed with Schifrin on the power of comedy-not only in theater but in daily life as well.

BWW Blog: YOU ARE ENOUGH - an Original Yale University Production "I've noticed in people that if you're able to laugh at yourself, you can never actually be hurt by other people. You take away that weapon they may have," she explained. "Everybody feels good when we laugh. You learn more from comedy most of the time. In comedy, we hold up a mirror to ourselves. We laugh at things when they're true and accurate and honest. If you are good in comedy, you make the best dramatic actors. You have to have an understanding of both happiness and sadness--you have to be really aware of your emotions."

Smooke takes an emotionally invested approach in both the characters and the actors. One of her favorite directing techniques is having her actors paraphrase an entire scene. This not only puts actors on the spot in improvising somewhat along their actual lines, but also helps actors learn about their characters and forces them to listen to each other. In that process, the piece becomes more authentic.

"The most rewarding thing about directing is seeing your process come to life," she reflected. "It's the evolution of your actors, seeing how they transform into each character and what they learned about themselves in the process. I love breaking people out of their shell. I love that in theater, you tap into the universal qualities of people, and what makes us human."

BWW Blog: YOU ARE ENOUGH - an Original Yale University Production The actors had to tap into their childhoods and unlock their inner child for "Exceptional Childhood Center." To get into preschool mode, the actors were asked to watch videos of babies laughing and reminisce about their favorite children's songs.

"Four-year-olds are full of particular idiosyncrasies, and trying to subconsciously adopt those while playing Reggie-figuring out how he walks and talks and reacts-was an interesting challenge," said Robert Gerdisch, who plays Reggie Watson-the new kid at the Childhood Center.

When asked the challenges of working with actors playing four-year-olds, stage manager Isaac Swift replied, "It's no different from working with normal actors."

Actor Carlos Guanche, a sophomore at Yale summed it up when he said, "It's been a wild ride, we're all very excited."

YOU ARE ENOUGH plays at Yale University's at Davenport/Pierson Auditorium (248 York Street, New Haven, CT 06515) this Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday (April 25-27) at 8:00pm.

Tickets are free and can be reserved here:

Photo Credit: Zhirui Guan

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