UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When the members of the School of Theatre’s M.F.A. Acting class of 2014 finish their degrees, they will have a lot more than the Penn State mainstage on their résumés. They will have the experience of performing, marketing and touring — throughout Pennsylvania and internationally — a newly commissioned play that examines issues of race, class, sexuality and discrimination in a way that only live theatre can.
The School of Theatre commissioned up-and-coming playwright Dominique Morisseau, who recently won the prestigious Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, to write a play for the class of 2014. Commissioning a playwright to create a new work for the graduating class is nothing new — the School of Theatre has been doing it since 2010. But what happened over the past year has taken the students — literally and figuratively — farther than they ever imagined.