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Rude Mechanicals to sponsor staged reading of student plays June 24-26

ISSUED: 13 June 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players will present staged readings of four plays written by Shepherd English/creative writing majors in Reynolds Hall on Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 26, at 3 p.m. All performances are free and open to the public.

The plays are “Sunny Daze” by Jake Anderson, Bowie, Maryland; “The Mad Junk” by Aja Bailey, Manassas Park, Virginia; “Bless Your Heart” by Colleen Callahan, Monrovia, Maryland; and “They Forgot about Me” by Nic McDill, Hedgesville.

“The Mad Junk” is about two male gynecologists trying to save their failing clinic by bringing Russian monk Rasputin to the future for help. Bailey started writing the play in 2014, after listening to the soundtrack from the 1997 animated film “Anastasia.” That led her to doing some research on Grigori Rasputin, and a particular urban legend regarding him caught her attention, so she added in a clinic and two male gynecologists for an outrageous story.

“I’m so excited to have my play read in front of an audience,” Bailey said. “I’m really passionate about playwriting and it’s definitely a thrill to see your work performed onstage. I had a lot of fun writing this play, and I hope the audience enjoys the show.”

“Bless Your Heart” is about an elderly woman living with Alzheimer’s disease. It follows her and her visits with family as well as interactions with other residents at “Sunnyside Assisted Living.”

“My grandmother’s experience with Alzheimer’s was the inspiration for this piece,” Callahan said. “As a writer I’m extremely excited for this opportunity. As an Alzheimer’s advocate I hope this play will spread awareness about the disease and show people how the time you spend with your family members is special and should not be taken for granted.”

Anderson originally wrote “Sunny Daze” as a pilot for an animated series that follows an apathetic, straightforward young girl named Sunny Paradiso and her rambunctious, egotistical brother Dante. They live in a small town that seems to be plagued with either supernatural or unexplained events. Anderson said the plot for this particular script revolves around Sunny being blackmailed into making her own student film.

“While this script and the overall story is comedy based, there are hints at a bit of commentary concerning the film industry and the many challenges one may go through in making a film,” Anderson said. “In light of all the big Hollywood blockbusters coming out this year, I felt this topic would be something fun to tackle and write about. My only hope is that the chosen actors for the script are having fun with the roles and enjoy them as much as I had fun writing them.”

For more information about the staged reading, contact Betty Ellzey at 304-876-5208 or

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