WAVE productions’ fall show The K of D follows 12-year-old Charlotte McGraw during the summer of her twin brother’s death, as narrated by a group of kids known as “the pack.” The show explores the intersection of legend and fact and is mysterious with a ghost-story-around-the-campfire feel.
This show was selected by producer Maya Schnake and director Nora Geffen, both Communication sophomores, once they were chosen to be involved in WAVE’s fall production.
“We looked at a lot of plays that had magical realism — we really liked that kind of theme,” Schnake said. “We liked the theme of kids getting together to tell the story of someone they’ve lost and kind of avenging that death in the ways that they could.”
Geffen was drawn to this show because of its focus on storytelling and how storytelling can help through moments of loss.
“I think this show is about the power of storytelling to help us work through grief and through confusing things,” she said. “I hope audiences come away thinking about the power of stories and why we tell them.”
Schnake originally read the play, which was written by Northwestern professor Laura Schellhardt, in her Theater for Young Audiences, or TYA, class. She believes it will expand people’s knowledge on TYA.
“Sometimes people think that TYA is strictly for people who are like six, seven years old but it has such a range and it can be a lot more powerful than just princess stories," Schnake said. "It doesn’t have to be so strictly to one kind of theme and one kind of story it can be a different kind of story and carry a very different message, but something that is ultimately very important."
Because the show is so centered around the group dynamic of “the pack,” Geffen focused a lot on building relationships between cast members before rehearsing the show.
“We started with a lot of character work, so we spent a lot of time before even working on scenes just talking about the relationships between the characters,” Geffen said. “We did a lot of playing games and a lot of working as a group before we started working on the show.”
Another choice unique to this production? How they decided to approach the narrator’s character.
“The script isn’t super clear about who the narrator is, she’s just called ‘the girl,’ but there’s a lot of language in it where she’s like retrospective,” Geffen said. “She’s clearly looking back, so we decided to emphasize that and have her be fully an adult looking back on these events that happened.”
Throughout the process, a challenge that arose was building the production team, as the show was scheduled for a later slot in the quarter and many designers had already committed to shows.
“Once we had picked the show, at that point, a lot of the early fall slots which cast in late spring they have signed on designers, and there are not a ton of designers at this school,” Schnake said. “It’s been kind of a unique experience also because we have a lot of first time designers, so it’s been definitely a learning process for a lot of us.”
Schnake believes the show may remind audience members of their own childhood and present familiar situations in new ways.
"I think it's a really fun story and it kind of brings you back to when you're telling stories with your friends like at birthday parties and stuff to just scare people,” she said. “I think it has a really fun energy and the cast has worked really hard on creating this kind of ghost story, so I think everyone should come see it."
The K of D will run in Shanley Pavilion on Nov. 15 at 7 and 10 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 2 and 7 p.m.