From left, Ethan Pitcher, Jacob Crocker, Kevin Moses and Aiden Connors after the first official viewing of their plays. Pitcher, Crocker, Moses and Connors say that now that they look forward to learning about the technical aspect of things once their week as writer-directors ends. Photo credit: Mideline Bony

Algonquin’s performing arts program unveiled its first play of the year on Thursday Oct. 4.

For weeks, students from the program have been writing, directing and starring in their own productions. Each play will feature a set of four shows that cover a variety of genres and showcase elements like singing, dancing and rapping.

Aiden Connors debuted a play called “I Hate Tim Horton’s” which he describes as, “A hatred to something that really doesn’t make any sense.” When asked what sparked the idea, Connors’ says he didn’t have to look very far.

“Honestly, I bought it from my own personal hatred for Tim Horton’s and I thought, ‘Maybe I could turn this into a comedy play.’ And I find it turned out to be one of the wackiest things I’ve ever written.”

For Connors, assuming the role of writer-director was a challenge.

“I’ve never directed in my life. It was stressful, but I found it was good for learning and evolving as a writer and performer.”

Southern Obligation, by Ethan Pitcher, features two cowgirls having to choose between being a good Samaritan or not. Pitcher credits farce, absurdist theatre, situational comedies and sitcoms like Seinfeld as his inspirations.

“The base thought was, what would happen if you put a classic sitcom concept in a southern setting? What I wanted to do was try to capture that comedy-vibe that you get out of farce and throw it in somewhere we haven’t seen it before and I think it turned out pretty well,” he said.

“It’s been very insightful. This is my first stint as a writer-director and it’s been very interesting and very inspiring to watch other people take something that you’ve created and mold it into something that you couldn’t have imagined,” Pitcher added.

Jacob Crocker’s a debacle concerning take-out, is the story of three brothers trying to answer the age-old questions of, “What’s for dinner” and the chaos that ensues as they try to figure it out. When asked what inspired his piece, he recalls having a similar argument with his own two brothers the day the assignment was given.

“It’s very much so based on a true story,” he said. Though the event seemed to have a comedic theme, one piece took things in a different direction. Kevin Moses’ tell me about Josh is a drama about a man troubled by the loss of his brother.

“My cousin was struggling with [mental health and] depression over the loss of a family member and it was so rough on her that she couldn’t bare it, so she literally started projecting the person that she lost,” said Moses.

Catherine LaBerge-Kenney, professor and coordinator for the program, said she was impressed with the work she saw.

“I thought it spoke to the depth of humanity in a way that we don’t often speak about but we need to speak more about that. I was really pleased that, as one of the first shows, they were willing to go that deep.”

When asked what it’s been like for her to see them through this journey, LaBerge-Kenney said,

“I always say, There is no greater gift that an educator can be given, than watching the growth of their students.’ but in particular, artists. And to see others bring their voice to fruition, it’s such a surprising experience for them and so meaningful and it’s a gift.”

As for her thoughts on the process itself, LaBerge-Kenney said,

“It’s demanding, it’s exhausting and it’s wonderful.”