By Alec Clayton
Tumwater High School is presenting a student-written play, “Other People’s Lives” by Caelyn White, an 18-year-old graduating senior.
“Other People’s Lives” is structured like seven interconnecting short stories, all loosely related with different principal characters. It focuses on a single neighborhood and the conflicts the various neighbors face. “I think it is essentially about the search for happiness and being forced to face the truth about yourself,” White says.
The play is co-directed by White and Tumwater High School (THS) drama teacher Harrison Fry.
“This show is sort of a weird mish-mash of inspiration,” White says. “Since I am going for realism and focusing on how people interact, I took a lot of inspiration from my own life and the lives of my friends. I tried to pull small ideas or parts from real life and build something new from it.”
This is White’s first play. She has worked on 10 school plays as an actor and two as stage manager. She also worked as a stage manager and occasional lighting operator with local production company Apple Tree Productions.
“I found it came to me pretty easily,” White explains. “I was still on summer vacation when I wrote [the play], so I had plenty of time to work on it constantly. The really difficult part was editing it. Writing took one month, and editing took eight. I got the main plot down the first time, but I spent months making sure it all worked and sounded right.”
White’s father, Randy, says, “From a young age Caelyn has been producing stories that have a depth that I am always surprised by. Her characters feel real and she isn’t afraid to put them in tough positions where they have to question themselves and their own feelings. She put a lot of work into ‘Other People’s Lives’ to make the complicated structure work well and to make the characters all feel real and to allow the audience to relate to them on a human level. This is a play that I’d want to see no matter who wrote it!”
“Other People’s Lives” by Caelyn White
Tumwater High School Performing Arts Center,
700 Israel Rd SW, Tumwater
7 p.m. Fri., June 7
2 and 7 p.m. Sat., June 8
$5 students, $8 adults