Student playwright turns her own life experience into new dramedy
By Dezarae M. Blasz, Rockefeller Arts Administration Practicum student
The next offering in the Walter Show Mainstage Series at SUNY Fredonia will be the premiere of a dramedy (a play that that combines elements of drama and comedy) by a Fredonia B.F.A. Musical Theater major.
Ashley V, Giaccio, a senior at Fredonia, wrote a two-act play called “Mason Wright is NOT a
Mother.” The play is loosely inspired by events Giaccio went through when she was 15 years old.
“This play started as a scene I wrote on the car ride home from the gynecologist after I found out she was misdiagnosed with PCOS [Polycystic ovary syndrome] at 15, never informed, and was being treated for a syndrome I did not have,” Giaccio said.
Giaccio continued writing about the moment in the spring semester of her sophomore year
at Fredonia, not thinking anything would come out it. However, she finished the final draft in her fall semester of junior year. Between that time, she was able to edit the play, add more events throughout it, as well as get friends and people within her independent study to add their opinions.
“Mason Wright is NOT a Mother” opens on Thursday, Nov. 30 in Bartlett Theater and continues Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. for all three performances. On Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. the show will be presented at the Alleyway Theater in Buffalo, NY, as a special one-night reading in its cabaret space.
Tickets are available through the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m . to 3 p.m., by phone at (716) 673-3501 and online (24/7). For the “pay what you can'' show at the Alleyway Theater, tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.alleyway.com.
It is the first full-length Walter Gloor Mainstage Series play to be written and directed by students. Fellow theater student Alexa Adler serves as the director. The assistant director is Fredonia student Bowie Rivera.
Giaccio, who is also pursuing a minor in Creative Writing, works along with Theatre and Dance faculty member Daniel Lendzian in a writer’s group independent study. Giaccio said being in an independent study has “opened a lot of doors” which helped her achieve her goal of creating a play.
Through the use of hyper-theatricality and puppetry, “Mason Wright Is NOT a Mother” explores themes of consent, trauma and medical malpractice against women. Giaccio said the play begins in a doctor’s office and the puppets within the play represent the ways in which the main character, Mason Wright, deals with learning she is unable to have children.
Giaccio explained there will be heavy use of medical terminology and medical conditions within the play to emphasize the way American culture often treats women’s health as taboo. Giaccio believes that speaking openly about these topics not only helps women gain control of their health and wellbeing, but in many ways does the same for men.
The playwright also noted that “Mason Wright is NOT a Mother” also incorporates the unfortunate, yet all too common story of how many LGBTQ+ youth are forced into inappropriate relationships at a young age, and how those experiences effect their connection to gender, romance, and parenthood.
Giaccio hopes the audience members can use the story to gain the confidence to always stick up for themselves, ask questions and get the treatment they deserve. She also hopes people will see to “never punish yourself over something you have no control over, and that you take a moment to tell the mothers in your life, whether they are actually mothers or not, thank you.”
The playwright offered her thanks to “the amazing teams” in the Department of Theatre and Dance their support in bringing the play to the stage.