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HOW TO ACTUALLY 

GRADUATE IN A VIRTUAL

WORLD

BY: Nikkole Salter

 

THE STORY:  Milwaukee, WI, 2021.  When Milwaukee High announces

that graduation will be virtual, TT gathers friends to come up with a way

to make the ceremony special. As they weigh their options—and battle

invisibility, hopelessness and indifference—we learn how the COVID 19 pandemic affected them all. Is an achievement an achievement if it goes unacknowledged?  (First Stage Commission)

For families with young people ages 12 and up.

 

FULL SCRIPT

One Act (40 minutes) 

6 teenaged people, any gender

Jonae Thomas, Maya Day O'Biddle, Abby Wallace, Christian Hughes and Nahjee Robinson. photo by Jennifer Hubbartt

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Christian Hughes and Abby Wallace. photo by: Jennifer Hubbartt

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Abby Wallace, Maya Day O'Biddle Nahjee Robinson and Christian Hughes. photo by Jennifer Hubbartt.

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Jonae Thomas, Maya Day O'Biddle, Abby Wallace, Christian Hughes and Nahjee Robinson. photo by Jennifer Hubbartt

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HOW TO ACTUALLY GRADUATE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD, was commissioned by First Stage (Jeff Frank.Artistic Director) for their Amplify — First Stage’s BIPOC Short Play Series, directed by Samantha D. Montgomery. The creative team was as follows:

Starring: Maya O'Day Biddle (Greenfield) as TT; Jonae Thomas (Sussex) as Jordan; Christian Hughes (Milwaukee) as Kenya; Abby Wallace (Milwaukee) as Shannon; Nahjee Robinson (Milwaukee) as Raynell and Daisha Lafford (Milwaukee) as TT/Workshop Alternate.

Stage Manager & Sound Designer Natalie Mayo                      Props Master:  Nikki Kulas

Technical director - Emily Adams                                             Location Audio Capture & Engineer: Jacob MItchel

Filmed & Edited by Traveling Lemur Productions, LLC             Assistant Director: Jeff Frank

 

HOW TO ACTUALLY GRADUATE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD was free to stream on demand on First Stage’s YouTube channel and premiered on Wednesday, September 1 at 7 p.m. It streamed September 1through December 5, 2021.  The production was also presented as part of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival - Youth Arts Night on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Ann's Indaba Bandshell.

LINKS TO PRESS​ & REVIEWS from HOW TO GRADUATE

Review: Shepherd Express - 'First Stage's Online Graduation Drama'

By RUSS BICKERSTAFF - 09/06/2021

"A remarkably complex interpersonal conflict plays-out between students looking to put together something for graduation. There isn’t a whole lot of room to develop a plot in such a short story, but Salter and company manage to cover a dizzyingly large thematic landscape the covers topics as diverse as segregation, socioeconomic uncertainty, the future, the past and a little bit of everything in between...Salter’s script dissects overlapping invisibilities of graduating virtually in a smaller-market city that is a Midwestern shadow on the larger American cultural tapestry. Salter develops an intricate dynamic between TT and her classmates. Everyone is grappling with something just a bit bigger than they’ve ever had to deal with before...Time with each of the characters may be severely limited in the scope of the story, but there isn’t a character in the story who isn’t memorable in some way."

Review: Around the Town Chicago - 'How to Actually Graduate in a Virtual World

By Julia W. Rath - 09/2021

“…[the show] asks a lot of good questions, one of which has to do with the role of pomp and circumstance when receiving a high school diploma…There is a nice balance between the joyful, sad, and cerebral aspects of the show… The irony of this show is that it’s a virtual performance about a virtual event.”

Feature: Radio Milwaukee - 'Student are lookin to art to tackle virtual anxiety

By Salam Fatayer - 09/20/2021

“Although the play was written by Salter, who lives in New York City, however, Milwaukee was properly represented in the script and dialogue. In one scene where a Zoom call screen freezes, Kenya said, “This ain’t Menomonee Falls,” as a call out to underfunded neighborhoods.”

Feature: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - 'First Stage's 'new normal' includes layered COVID protection as it returns to in-person shows

By Amy Schwabe - 09/15/2021

“The play was written by award-winning playwright Nikkole Salter. Frank says her involvement was one of the silver linings of the pandemic... Frank said Salter researched Milwaukee as she wrote the play so she could insert references that would resonate for local audiences... "The young people were trying out the different voices and roles in the play and telling her what seemed authentic to them and what rang true," said Frank. "There were a few things where the kids would say, 'I don't know that this is something I would actually say,' and then Nikkole would make adjustments. It's an amazing gift for the young people and the artist that they got to share this camaraderie and the joy of creation."”

PLAYS

BREAKOUT

BREAKOUT

CARNAVAL

CARNAVAL

INDIAN

INDIAN

IN THE CONTINUUM

IN THE CONTINUUM

FREEDOM RIDER

FREEDOM RIDER

LINES IN THE DUST

LINES IN THE DUST

REPAIRING A NATION

REPAIRING A NATION

TORN ASUNDER

TORN ASUNDER