Randi Hickey and Jenna Lam met at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia's pre-college theater camp in summer 2011, the play that was to become the budding actresses' first writing, directing and producing effort consisted of just a single scene.
On Sept. 15 and 16, their play, "See You in Paris," was performed at the Second Stage Theatre in Philadelphia as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. While the play was ultimately a success, Hickey said there were many points during the year-plus process that it could have gone south.
"I thought at times it wasn't going to happen," said the Charter-Tech High School for the Performing Arts senior from Egg Harbor Township. "We had cast members drop out, we had to find new people on our crew, but looking back, I'm really proud that we've done this. Even if we hadn't done well, it would have been a feather in our cap as young artists."
The play tells the story of Viviana, a young woman whose chronic seizures have left her bedridden in a hospital, and Cash, the male nurse who treats her.
Dreams, Hickey said, are central to the story. Viviana, is a dreamer whose illness ensures hers will never come true, and Cash is a man who, until he meets Viviana, ignores his.
"They find sort of an escape in each other, and they bring out the adventurous side in each other, and I think it's really about finding what it means to be alive," Hickey said.
Turning the scene the pair first discussed at camp into a full-length play was a long road. Hickey and Lam, who lives in Philadelphia, met weekly in Philadelphia to hash out the plot and complete the script. Once done, they turned to Kickstarter, a community-based fundraising site, to secure the money to put their production together. Then, they had to secure a rehearsal space and, most importantly, their cast and crew.
After all that, the playwrights' first production was a success, nearly selling out the 60-capacity theater in its third and final performance. Hickey said the audience was vocal in its praise for the production.
"After our first show, we were coming out of the theater and a guy that had seen the show was across the street at a restaurant that had outside seating," Hickey said. "He saw us, and he came over and he told us how great the show was."
Hickey, who aspires to make a career in the theater, said she hopes to attend the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is also applying to New York University, Pace University and the State University of New York at Purchase.
A lifetime of success in the arts is a difficult thing to achieve, but with a well-received production already under her belt at the beginning of her senior year of high school, Hickey has taken the first steps.
"Going off to college, that resume is going to be a little bit thicker than the next person's, so that's always a good thing, and to see our students successful in venues outside of school, it's wonderful, it's just great," Charter-Tech principal Brian McGuire said.
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