Inspired by a National Public Radio story detailing a mysterious wall in Berlin where people posted fliers with oddly personal stories, Emily Rich crafted “Post No Bills,” a play that focuses on Tori, an awkward but ambitious journalist who wants to interview the people behind those fliers. The one-act play has been Rich’s project for more than a year, as she created monologues, developed characters and produced the show that would become the creative portion of her thesis project.
A simple set, adorned with just a couch, coffee table and flier-laden wall was the backdrop for “Post No Bills.” One by one, actors appeared on stage to read fliers that told stories of lost pets or old dresses which served as metaphors for loneliness, pride, depression and hope.
Rich’s goal was to create a monologue-based play. Over the course of a semester, she wrote a monologue every day, finally compiling a select few into the script for “Post No Bills” and tying them together with dialogue and a backstory. This accompanied the academic portion of Rich’s thesis which examined contemporary monologue-driven plays.
As writer, producer, director and actor, Rich had the unique experience of revisiting her own writing through new eyes.
“I spent so much time with the characters by myself, imagining what they are and writing them, and then had someone else come in and take it and make it their own and [I] watched that character expand to places that I didn’t even imagine that it could,” Rich said.
First-year Jacob “Qake” Cooley,who played Kurt, Tori’s reluctant roommate, added his characteristic silliness and humor to an otherwise straight-laced character.
“[Cooley] is playing a character that I never really imagined when I was writing him as being kind of goofy, but it’s [Cooley] playing him, so it’s a little bit goofy and it’s a little bit fun,” Rich added.
Despite Cooley and other actors’ added humor, “Post No Bills” deals with harsh, often emotional topics, including homophobia, sickness, loneliness and mental illness.
As the actors took their final bows, the audie nce wiped away stray tears and muttered impressed wows.
Rich aspires to continue working in theatre as a writer and director after graduating.