Arts, On Campus

Alumni Play ‘Cleveland Circle’ Takes Audiences Through Post-College Life

This semester, the Boston College theatre department is showcasing the art of alumni as part of its spring lineup. From March 21–24, Cleveland Circle will be performed at the Bonn Studio Theater, Robsham Theater’s black box. The play was written by alumni Aidan O’Neill, MCAS ’23, and Lily Telegdy, MCAS ’23, and directed by Professor of Theatre Scott Cummings. 

Cleveland Circle shows the audience “what it is like to live in Boston in your 20s,” according to O’Neill. 

“The play is about these different characters … who [though] we don’t see all of them together, they are all connected in interesting and unexpected ways,” O’Neill said.

Telegdy explained how the two graduates started working on the project around 15 months ago, during their senior year of college. It started out as a paired project assigned by Cummings, and was meant to be composed of two-person scenes. 

She went on to state that multiple scenes in the original text did not make it to the final script, but were still essential in the process of creating the final product that made it to the stage.

”We’ve written way more scenes than are actually in this play … Some characters don’t exist anymore, and that’s because the first couple of scenes we wrote aren’t even in the play,” Telegdy said. “They just stemmed the rest of the play, and sparked our creativity.”

The title Cleveland Circle refers to the location of the same name located near Lower Campus. Surrounded by restaurants and off-campus apartments, the area is well-known by the BC students who frequent it. But the name also had a deeper meaning for the play’s writers.

”Cleveland Circle, as we fondly call it, is a place in Boston which we know really well, and what I think is an important part of the BC student experience,” Telegdy said. “But one of the reasons why it works so well for our purpose is the circle. In this play, we start with characters A and B, and end up coming back to character A in the last scene. It makes a full circle of characters.”

Despite being the ones working behind the scenes, O’Neill and Telegdy initially wrote the characters while envisioning themselves as the performers. But once they knew it was going to be a “more serious project”, as explained by O’Neill, they decided to focus their energy on writing. 

Telegdy also disclosed she doesn’t think of herself as an actress, and would rather write, or work with directing, management, and design.

As for their experience co-authoring Cleveland Circle, as well as working with Cummings, both playwrights said their time has been nothing but amazing.

When asked about the main message of the play, O’Neill reflected on its overall purpose and the anticipated impact of the performance on the audience.  

“I would say that particularly for the Boston College audience, and students in college, it addresses some of those concerns about what life looks like right after college, and how scary that thought is … What happens when you leave college, and the education rhythm you know really well, and you go out into the real world?” O’Neill said. “That feels particularly relevant to the people here.”

March 21, 2024