Self Made, a new play by Kara Hadden, examines the politics of identity, the ways we perform for each other, and the necessity of (queer) self-invention.
Set in 2019 and 2020, the play follows the romantic relationship between two women––Eleanor and Ren––during their senior year of college, as they each contend with internal and external pressures to figure out who they want to become.
Ren, a low-income Black student from rural Illinois, arrived at college ready to fulfill the lesbian identity she had seen in herself since age 13. Meanwhile, Eleanor, a white one-percenter from Connecticut, dated men all throughout high school and "wasn't calling herself anything" until she met and fell in love with Ren.
Self Made opens with Ren's discovery that she has won a prestigious $50,000 fellowship to make performance art in New York City the following year. Upon hearing the news, Eleanor begins to fret about her own post-grad decisions and the future of their relationship.
BTAP conducted a developmental workshop of Self Made via Zoom in June 2020.
Self Made has its roots in playwright Kara Hadden's time as an artist-in-residence at STUDIO'62 in the summer of 2019. Later that summer, Hadden and director/dramaturg Jack McAuliffe led a week-long developmental workshop with a cast of five actors, culminating in a staged reading at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts.
Development of the script continued with a group of actors from Yale University in Spring 2020, and with the Between the Acts Project in June 2020. At the close of the workshop, BTAP presented a zoom reading of the play. Here is an excerpt from that reading of the first scene: