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Dr. Metres premieres “Shrapnel Maps: A Play”

Olivia Buckel
Olivia Buckel discusses the recent premiere of “Shrapnel Maps: A Play” at Marinello Little Theatre.

On the evening of March 21, Dr. Philip Metres premiered his play “Shrapnel Maps: A Play” adapted from his poetry book of the same name. This staged reading premiered in the Marinello Little Theater on the second floor of the Lombardo Student Center and Metres was joined by many of his colleagues. The adaptation was written by Metres as well as Eric Schmiedll and it was directed by Seth Gordon, who flew in from Oklahoma. 

With five actors in total, the play itself was simple, yet magnetizing. There were no fancy props, no transcendent lighting or dramatic soliloquies. And yet, with each actor having their own set of skills combined with the brilliance of the page, one could not help but be drawn in.

The play dealt with many prevalent issues of today, including the conflict in Palestine, the human experience and what it means to have many identities. It showed how all of these identities can be true and valid, yet at the same time, painful in how they interact. The scenes allowed Metres’s poetry to be put into a wider context, having characters read the poems and filling in the space between with realistic interactions making it its own kind of prose. Metres taking inspiration from his own identities only furthered this universal aspect of the play.

The show expanded time – paused it, went back, and went forward, all to illustrate how one poet can fight in his own way: through his words.

Gordon said he is proud of how far this play has come, but is also looking forward to its future. 

“It has been such a privilege to work on this work-in-progress with Metres, Eric and the cast,” Gordon said. “A workshop of a play that is not yet complete is a time for generosity of spirit and collaboration. Everyone has approached the project with this in mind and it’s made the experience very humbling and rewarding. This project involved five days of work, which is about a quarter of what you do when you’re working on a full production. It has no production values, just actors in front of music stands. Ultimately, we hope to produce the play with sets, lights and costumes, fully rehearsed. I’m looking forward to that once the writing process is completed.”

Rita Jamous, the lead actress, feels similarly to Gordon.

“I hopped on board with this project on Tuesday and felt welcome from the moment I walked through the doors,” Jamous said. “Phil, Eric, Seth and the whole cast embody exactly what the play itself conveys about kindness and acceptance. Phil’s beautiful words made it so easy to connect to the play and Lily’s character. I am so thankful to be a part of a work of art that promotes peace.”

As Metres said in his opening remarks, this play took a village, and it absolutely paid off. With passion, spirit, joy and pain, this performance marked the beginnings of a work of art that John Carroll University should be proud of.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Buckel, Media Beat Reporter
Olivia Buckel is a Media Beat Reporter for The Carroll News. She is from Erie, Pennsylvania, and is currently a freshman at JCU. She is majoring in English with a Creative Writing concentration as well as a Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies minor. She is also in the Honors Program In addition to writing for The Carroll News, Olivia is also a part of the Honors Service Board, as well as the JCU Allies Club and the Women and Allies Coalition. She is also a Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Ambassador and a prose editor for The Carroll Review. During her free time, Olivia enjoys reading fantasy books, writing fantasy stories, and watching fantasy TV. In the future, Olivia hopes to be an editor for a publishing house or magazine.  

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