*Megan Kelly & me (Zury M. Ruiz) in San Francisco during Thanksgiving break a year ago. This would make an awesome engagement photo. Just saying.[Picture taken by Madhuri Shekar]
It’s really fun for me to be able to write about my friend and fellow writer, Megan Kelly because I get to make up a lot of stuff. Stuff like– Megan was engaged to a hunky Russian astronaut but left him for somebody better. Better than a Russian astronaut?! Oh, yeah, Megan did that. True story… Okay, no, but I predict it.
But seriously, the reason I feel I have to invent is because Megan is an enigma to me. Just when I think I’ve got her pinned down she goes “Nah-ah, trick!” and kicks her way out. You see, I had already written Megan off as dainty, and in a lot of ways she is (hardly—if ever—curses, is first to volunteer, and she baked a cake for me on my birthday—Aww, shit!) but in a lot of ways she isn’t. Case in point: Her writing. As part of our program’s New Works Festival, Megan wrote and developed her play: “The Solace of St. Marks” (pretty striking title, right?), a play about a congregation trying to keep their church, and faith, alive during a time of financial struggle. Walking into the black box theatre, made to look like a church, one felt that they had to be respectful, quiet, serious, even, that is, until we open into the first scene. In a pre-Lent celebration, the congregation dresses up as religious figures, though they’re far from the part as their own awkward, messy personas seep through. The result: hilarity. It was so unexpected of a play dealing with this sad but relevant topic. An unexpectedness only Megan could bring to life.
For this, her final New Works Festival, Megan is developing her play “And All the Trees Shall Clap their Hands” (yet another striking title!) a piece about an up and coming comedian, Sarah, who must negotiate between her two fulfilling but seemingly distinct worlds of comedy and Christianity. From our previous post, Madhuri so clearly stated that while she and Megan work closely together I am mostly out of the loop, so my introduction to this play was two weeks ago during an in-class reading with our professors. Once again, Megan managed to blow my mind. I am most amazed by the comedians that have influenced the lead character, Sarah, and in turn Megan herself. “YOU like that kind of comedy?” I found myself thinking of Megan, but of course a secret freak would, and in this play she doesn’t make it her freaky secret. It’s all out there. The language, tone and characters of this play are written honestly and open. It’s personal for Megan, like it’s personal for Sarah—there is much more to them than the worlds they are trying to marry (or at least make cordial acquaintances).
I am excited to see the development of her third year play. I am excited to see whom she leaves the hunky Russian astronaut for. Both will be wonderful, I know it.