Freshmen and Sophomores Preview “End Days”


Billie Koffman

Sophomores Nina Ryan and Neo Watsin and freshmen Sophia Cimmino and Samantha Rodino rehearse for their upcoming play "End Days." Come see the performance on Friday, October 26 in the Richard Perry Theater.

This year’s freshman-sophomore play, “End Days”, premieres on October 26th, and will be any prior Poly performance. Rather than a traditional play, “End Days” is a collection of scenes from various different plays all written by renowned playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer. One of the scenes, called Much Ado About Boys, has never been performed before, and will be making its debut on the Poly stage.

Unlike the show’s pessimistic-sounding name, everyone involved with it, including the director and meber of performing arts faculty Cynthia Babak, is very enthusiastic about the production.

This will be the tenth freshman-sophomore play Babak has directed, though the concept of taking scenes from different plays and combining them is new to her. She considers all of the scenes to share a common thread: “I think that Ms. Laufer’s plays wrestle with the ideas of despair and hope,” Babak said.

“All of her characters are struggling with their lives, but they all have great coping mechanisms, some of which are crazier than others, and all of the pieces end up with a feeling of being uplifted… I think this playwright has a lot of generosity to the human condition.”

Babak discovered Laufer through the connections she has within the theatre community, and found her material to be perfect for the group of actors she was working with.

Additionally, when asked about the playwright, Babak said, “She does have a lot of young people in her scripts, and I think she captures that age group really well, but she also has a quality that I adore as a performer and as a director, which is that her scenes are funny and sad at the same time. You just don’t know where the two feelings collide.”

The cast of “End Days” is ecstatic to put on the play, as well. Sophomore Neo Wastin expressed his appreciation for the dispersed-scene format. He said, “I think that it’s really cool that it’s multiple scenes and not just one play, because now we get this versatility.”

Wastin plays the role of Nelson Steinberg in a scene called “End Days,” which shares its name with the overarching title of the show itself.

When asked to describe the personality of his character, Wastin said, “He doesn’t really understand social cues… he doesn’t understand how to talk to people, so he sometimes overshares, or talks too much, or interrupts people… I feel like a lot of people with social anxiety can relate to Nelson.”

Babak said all the actors “are very talented, and have a real work ethic,” and although they will be the ones onstage, they are not the only ones working on the show.

Since early September, they have been working alongside the tech crew, costume crew, and stage managers, and have all been putting in a lot of effort in order to create an unforgettable performance.

Later this month, they will be presenting the result of their hard work in the Richard Perry Theatre, and will bring the world of Deborah Zoe Laufer to life.