Most students cannot say they produced a play on the main stage of their university, but Carroll senior Stephanie Brownell can. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her hobby and her career goal.
Stephanie believed that to be a writer, you have to be an English major, but she quickly learned that theater was where her heart belonged. “Theater is a place where all artistic elements come together and create a collaborative work,” Stephanie said, and this realization sparked her interest in playwriting.
Stephanie has written poetry and prose since she was a young girl, but “Ann…Strange and Wonderful Things” was her first play. It was presented on the main stage of Otteson Theater in April 2012. Inspiration for the play came from her reading of Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone,” a 1944 adaptation of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy. Stephanie’s contemporary adaptation has the same underlying themes as the original “Antigone,” but she used her personal experiences to add another layer to the play. “I never set out to write anything so personal, but I think my play is a success because it is so personal,” she said.
Stephanie has won numerous awards for her talent, such as the David B. Justin Theater Award for Outstanding Senior and the Pioneer Writing Seminar Award in 2010 and 2011 for the best academic paper. She also likes to write and revise academic articles to submit to conferences. In summer 2011, her paper, “Same Difference: Homophobia and Heterosexism in Anti-Homosexual Discourse,” was published at Purdue University’s conference. Stephanie will present a paper “Twelve Fingers: Subjectification of Haitian Women in Edwige Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory” at Purdue’s summer 2012 conference.
Surprisingly, Stephanie does not have a favorite play. Her philosophy on favorites is, “I don’t really like yellow, but I am OK with the other colors. There are so many great colors in the world, so why limit yourself to just one. The same goes for theater, art and poems.”
Stephanie graduated this May and plans to go to graduate school in the fall. She wants to obtain her Master of Fine Arts degree and then write plays and teach at the university level. Her advice for future students is to “believe in yourself. You can do anything you want.”
Written by Rose Rementer ’12