Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. If you’re looking for a show with a flexible cast and great opportunities for ensemble work then prepare yourself for Life, Off Book by Scott Giessler.
In this movement-based drama, Ophelia and Jeb have a relationship that’s like a well-built theatre set. It looks great on the outside, but an empty shell on the inside.
Ophelia is a phenomenal dancer and actress who’s constantly afraid. Jeb is Ophelia’s mild mannered fake boyfriend who is also a closeted gay man. What happens when they have to tear themselves away from the script and live life off book?
Why did we publish this play?
As our submissions manager Nick Pappas said when he recommended this play “It gives me the feels.” Life, Off Book is a play that has a lovely blend of character journey, artistic imagery (if you’re inclined there’s opportunity for music and dance), and a heart felt message. It’s a play teens should be in, should see, should experience.
Let’s hear from the author!
1. Why did you write this play?
I work with many students that are slowly working their way out of the “closet” and go through many of the things the show covers. I also know many students who are afraid of real relationships. I wanted to create a story that handled this subject matter in a way that did not feel preachy or whiny and would give them a sense of confidence for who they are. I also wanted to create a show that would highlight the arts community of a high school that was not cartoonish or cliché in the way that so many TV shows or movies do.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
It’s important to live your life with love and hope; not fear. You only really start living a worthwhile life when you put away your fear and let the chips fall where they may.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
I love the moment that Ophelia peels the facades off of the set pieces.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Look to find what’s real in this story to you. Make this your world, and make these characters and narrators people you know; and don’t be afraid to present this subject-matter. It’s 2018, and this is your world now.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
Thanks to the exhaustive workshopping with high school students, the dialogue and story are very relevant, clever, and very engaging. It’s real but not too heavy. There are a variety of personalities for actors to connect to. It also highlights a lot of different kinds of talents if you have dancers or musicians.