Two-character play sheds light on struggle

Black Box Theater presents ‘Gruesome Playground Injuries’

Submitted Photo Adam Purdy, left, and Alayzia McLeod, right, rehearse for the upcoming play “Gruesome Playground Injuries” in the black box theater.

Jenny Castro, Aili Smith and two Minot State University freshmen will be presenting “Gruesome Playground Injuries” Feb. 27-29. Each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place in the Black Box Theater on the first floor of Hartnett Hall.

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” is a two-character play that follows Kayleen and Doug, played by freshmen Alayzia McLeod and Adam Purdy respectively. The auditions were for every level at MSU. The two freshmen had such great chemistry from working together in the fall semester that they were chosen for the roles.

Each character comes from a very different upbringing than the other, but both struggle with forms of pain. Kayleen’s pain is more internal and taken out on herself, and Doug’s is mostly shown externally by partaking in dangerous stunts. However, even though their problems are put on display, the two are still more seen for who they are as people. Their characters are stronger than their mental illness.

Kayleen and Doug grew up together, and the play portrays them at multiple different ages. The youngest the audience will see each character is 8 years old and the oldest is 38 at a different point in the play. There are eight scenes in total, and each scene shows Kayleen and Doug at a different age. To show the transitions on age, the set will be switched on stage so the audience can witness the time change.

The set and the props were kept minimal, Castro said, so that everything can run smoothly without having an intermission. She also mentioned that the play moves along very fast. Castro wants the audience to take something away from the play. That can be learning something they may not have known about mental illness or recognizing signs of mental illness they can watch for in their loved ones and friends. Sometimes seeing things from a different perspective can have a strong impact on understanding something.

Castro said this play is her first time directing, and she learned a lot about directing from Smith in classes. She’s very excited to bring the play to life and share the dark comedy with her community.