This spring, director Chris Garcia Peak was invited to come work with Hope theatre students to create a fun and interesting devised work. During the fall, students were invited to attend a three-day workshop led by Garcia Peak. From here, the students along with Garcia Peak created a concept that he would then present to the department faculty to be approved as the play for the devised piece in the spring semester.
After the workshop, the framework of “The Boy Who Hates Everything” was created. From there, Garcia Peak cast nine actors to perform in the production and to help him further develop the play into what it is now. After building an original play from the ground up, the play has made it through tech and to the main stage, ready for an audience and has now closed. It is currently in the process of being submitted to Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 3, a theatre festival that Hope College participates in annually, to be performed.
Garcia Peak is currently based out of Chicago, but is living in Holland for the time being to work on “The Boy Who Hates Everything.” One of his primary jobs in Chicago is working with his theatre company that he created called Cock and Bull, which has a main focus on devised theatre. Through creating his company and now working with college students, devised theatre certainly means a lot to Garcia Peak. He expanded on this love by saying, “It allows people to have a voice and tell a story in their own way. It also utilizes all of the theatrical training that someone has, in order to create something from scratch, and it allows me to incorporate things that I wouldn’t usually do; like puppets.” In “The Boy Who Hates Everything” there are two puppets– a dog named Ratatouille and a lionness named Choupette.
Garcia Peak also discussed more on what his three-day workshop in the fall looked like. “I did a three day workshop that was open to all of the students who were interested. It was aimed to help students understand what it may be like to be a playwright. I brought in some ideas, paintings, and inspiration starters to help initiate ideas with the students. From there I just pieced together many ideas to create a mini selection. [“The Boy Who Hates Everything”] is a fable about a lion’s whiskers, and a boy who was arrested for not finishing his dinner. It’s all kind of by accident and it is all about a hero’s journey about his family and his arrest.”
Working with students and mature adults is bound to be different, due to the amount of free time, creativity, and interest in the material. With this, Garcia Peak discussed a key aspect of working with college students that he enjoys. He said, “What is really fun is that the students are always so willing to try anything and just jump right into it. Everyone here just acts on each other’s ideas, and are always so bold and committed. All of the students are always having fun. However, working with adults, you don’t do a lot of teaching, and it is more straightforward. I really enjoy being able to teach the students new things.”
The entire creation process has been rewarding for Garcia Peak. He concluded, by saying this about “The Boy Who Hates Everything”: “It is a funny show! It is almost like a musical, and has a bunch of new things.”
“The Boy Who Hates Everything” ran the last couple of weeks. If you missed the chance to see it, make sure you are looking out for the next academic year’s season announcement coming soon! You can find more information about Chris Garcia Peak on his website here.