Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. We’re excited to feature Inanimate by Christian Kiley – a high school drama you won’t want to miss.
Life is a little different for Ani. She talks to her coffee pot and alarm clock. She even talks to her toaster. Is she living in a happy, carefree kids’ show or is it something more serious?
What if you talk to inanimate objects and they talk back? What if they write hate texts to your friends? Try to control you? Make you stay inside with the blinds drawn and the lights turned down low?
What if Ani’s life is not happy at all?
Why did we publish this play?
Christian Kiley is a master at taking you in one direction with a script and then making a sharp left turn. Inanimate is a play that makes you think you’re in for one kind of experience and then page by page you learn things are not what they seem. A fascinating look at our relationship with devices. It also gives a great lesson in personification – how do you characterize a coffee pot?
1. Why did you write this play?
I love personification and the idea of bringing everyday items to life was exciting to me. I also wanted to connect the concept of inanimate objects coming to life with the mental health issues that Ani and many other people struggle with on a daily basis. Just getting out of the door and taking on the day can be a struggle to many people.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
One of the primary themes is how internal, emotional problems manifest themselves in peoples’ lives. In Ani’s case it is her anxiety and fear of the unknown.
Even if you believed the inanimate objects were not speaking to Ani, you could embrace the idea that Ani is sabotaging herself, by taking no risks, and ultimately never leaving her house, Ani is trapped in her own mind.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
The most impactful image for me in the play is the inanimate objects closing in around Ani in a hauntingly friendly way (they clearly care about her but are constricting her growth).
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
I would say, the actors are everything in this play. Literally, they are the world of the play (the set). Let them take that on and invest in it fully.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
This play is great for student performers because most of the characters remain on stage throughout the play and the creation of the world requires a strong ensemble with vivid imaginations. It is a truly actor-centered play.