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From the Dramaturg – Who Donut?

By Jessica Costas
Dramaturg – Who Donut?

Hello and welcome to Arden Jurskis and Kenzy Peach’s ode to Boston, Who Donut?. Originally from Florida and California respectively, Jurskis and Peach met freshman year. Between living near one another and having back-to-back radio shows, over time they noticed that their artistic tastes were similar. The first piece of work the two wrote together was a short play they performed for their final in their Fundamentals of Speech and Communication class. This elaborate performance awarded them an invite to represent Emerson at the 2016 Iowa caucus. Gregory Payne of the Communications Department instituted a ‘selfie competition’ at the caucus, which Jurskis and Peach were determined to win. Peach whispered to Jurskis a plan to win the selfie competition. In a random turn of events, Jurskis got some assistance from someone walking by him: soon he was down on one knee proposing to Peach…with Ted Cruz assisting him! The two took this small selfie competition to the level of the national news. While they did succeed with messing with Republican candidate Ted Cruz, they did not win the selfie competition, which Peach tells me they are still suspicious. Between their antics and absurd performances, the two wanted to continue writing shows together–they just could not decide what the next story would be.

One day when Peach was standing line in the Dunkin’ Donuts in Central Square observing the odd characters around her, an idea struck her! She texted Jurskis: “hey here’s an idea: the end of the world in a Dunkin’ Donuts,” to which he replied: “I’ll raise you one: a murder mystery in a Dunkin’ Donuts.” The absurdist comedy started there. True to the quirky spirit of their inspiration, the two wrote the show in various Dunkin’ Donuts locations across Massachusetts. The two submitted the show to NewFest with little confidence this offbeat project would be chosen, but director Joseph Antoun appreciated the bold writing and wanted to bring this show to life on stage.

This is  Joseph Antoun’s eighteenth year directing NewFest. Of the many submissions, what struck Antoun was that “Arden and Kenzy were unafraid to take these characters anywhere they wanted them to go for a laugh–and they did so with affection.” He was also drawn to the unique sound of the play, “struck by how the voice was unmistakably that of college age writers…I found it hysterical and refreshing.” Antoun not only hears the voices of college students resonate in the play, but also sees their approach to the world reflected in its actions. “Requir(ing) an odd balance of specificity, detail and an improvisational element,” Who Donut? presents challenges that Antoun is excited to bring to life through disparate elements: music, special effects, and unexpected surprises.

Both Jurskis and Peach were surprised when Who Donut? was chosen. NewFest is an opportunity for Emerson Stage to realize the ideas of new upcoming playwrights and Peach and Jurskis are flattered to be a part of it. They hope at this performance they can transport you away from the craziness of today’s world and invite you into their world of absurdity, nonetheless populated by oddly familiar characters plucked right out of the Boston’s favorite local coffee shop.

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