Acting Production

Theatrefolk Featured Play – Wellness Check by Christian Kiley

Written by Lindsay Price

Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Wellness Check by Christian Kiley is an flexible-gender, issue-based drama intended to be performed in a video conference call or online meeting.

Three characters struggle with wellness in uncertain times. A teacher tries too hard by calling themselves “Friendly.” A high achieving student has memorized the wellness check questions but isn’t doing so well. An underachiever needs to improve their grade, which is kind of hard with nine suspensions.

Why did we publish this play?
Christian sent us Wellness Check as a response to his experiences teaching in the virtual world/classroom and the response(s) from his students. It’s character driven and a window into our current world – always a great combination for theatre, whether it’s online or in person.

This play is specifically written to be performed on an online platform, so teachers don’t have to worry about adapting the script. It’s ready to be virtually performed as is.

Let’s hear from the author!

1. Why did you write this play?
Thankfully, we have started using phrases in our schools like “engaging in self-care”, “mental health awareness”, and even the title of this play as a way to make sure heart, body, and mind are all ready to learn by having periodic wellness checks. We have ignored our wellness for far too long. I want to support students as they find meaningful, positive ways to take care of themselves and then exude that energy, benefiting the world around them.

2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
We all need to be mindful of our wellness. In a world that is often in a state of chaos and a myriad of uncontrollable factors, we need to focus on our ability to function and thrive.

3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
The characters as they struggle, wrestle with their anxiety, anger, and depression. This can be expressed in each actor’s physical choices and help to avoid the talking heads that could be the default in a video conference style play.

4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
To be in a small cast play, with people you trust, exploring the vast expanse of the human psyche can be an amazing experience. Let go, have fun, connect with yourself and the other actors.

5. Why is this play great for student performers?
As an adult I have made the mistake of thinking that students don’t have real problems. The longer I have taught, connected with students, observed them in their day-to-day lives, the more appreciation I have for the real struggles students grapple with each day. They are brave, strong, and resilient. This is a chance to illustrate that to the adults who have not seen that side of our youth yet. They will!

6. Do you have any tips for those who are performing this play online?
It boils down to the challenges of a virtual play. How do you add in the magic of live theatre for something that feels artificial? Move, connect with your breathing, your physicality, react to what is being said (Are you shocked, enamored, angered, curious, entertained? Let it pour out of you.).


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About the author

Lindsay Price