SRU theatre professor takes self-written horror play to Florida

Published by adviser, Author: Emma Pfeifer - Asst. Campus Life Editor, Date: September 24, 2015

A new horror play written by a Slippery Rock Univeristy theatre professor will debut in Florida during the month of October.

“Starla”, written by professor of theatre, David Skeele, will be performed in Florida by the Infinite Abyss Theatre Company on Oct. 9 through Oct. 24 on Fridays and Saturdays. The show will be called “Urban Legends” and has six plays, including Skeele’s “Starla” being performed that night.

Skeele said the play only requires two actors throughout the entire theatrical work. The plot of “Starla” focuses around a college professor named Trevor and a student, Elizabeth, in an abandoned theater. The play starts off by the professor intentionally leading his student to a haunted theater. While there, they were supposed to work on an audition piece from a Shakespearian monologue where Lady Macbeth is trying to kill the king, but, Trevor had a different mindset and was hoping for something more intimate between he and Elizabeth in the end. As time progresses and the story of Starla, the ghost, is told, Starla possesses Elizabeth and it does not end well for Trevor.

“Starla” was founded by the Director of Infinite Abyss Productions, Erynn Dalton. The company was looking for horror plays to perform at their theatre and contacted Dr. Skeele because of the high interest in this particular play.

Skeele said “Starla” was inspired by a trip to Scotland that professor of theatre, Laura Smiley, went on. Smiley went on the trip to research how to bring an SRU play to Scotland to be performed. From that trip, Skeele was inspired to write the play in hopes of taking it somewhere. Because “Starla” is a play of only two characters, Skeele decided not to take that play and instead write two others that had more characters.

Skeele started writing horror films in 2005. He started out as an actor, then headed towards directing, decided to be a theatre scholar, then finally ended up as a play writer.

Skeele said he enjoys writing horror plays for many reasons but one of the bigger purposes is that students appreciate horror. There are downsides to writing horror though, including not being taken seriously in the theatre realm, he said.

“Starla” will not be performed at Slippery Rock, Skeele said.

Skeele has written a total of 16 plays since he first started writing in 1993. He is in process of writing another play that is going to be about 80 to 90 pages long and it has taken him a year so far and he is halfway done.

A number of his plays have been shown and studied all over the world including Nigeria, Switzerland, Canada, Singapore and more, Skeele said. Each time a play of his is shown interest, he explained that he feels very proud and it is one of the most rewarding feelings.


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