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Faculty Member's Play to Be Performed in the Big Apple

Date: Oct. 17, 2002
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Dottie Stover
Archive: Profiles

Looking for that special someone can be both exciting and a little unnerving as romance seekers navigate the dating scene. Stories about that first date, both successful and disastrous, are often shared among supportive singles and their married friends. A new play that unfolds a fictional account of what happens on an older couple's first date is now bringing recognition to a UC faculty member, as she heads to the Big Apple and to a prestigious theater festival.

Pauline Smolin

Pauline Smolin's play, "Body Contact," will have a staged reading Oct. 25 and 26 at New York's Studio Ensemble Theatre as part of the "Annual Fall Harvest of New Theatre." Smolin says the 30th annual Octoberfest event draws producers from all over the country as they view the work of new playwrights. Her play will be directed and produced by a name descended from Hollywood royalty -- Daniel Selznick, the son of legendary film producer David O. Selznick and Irene Mayer Selznick, the daughter of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer.

A staged reading is not a complete setting for the play -- the actors may wear their own clothes instead of costumes, and there's no set that is dressed for the full play production. The actors are still on stage, and they are still moving through the scenes, however. Staged readings also mean the actors can read their parts right off their script rather than memorize it, if the director chooses to do so.

Smolin, a University College associate professor in the Language Arts Department, has been writing plays for 30 years. At University College, she teaches contemporary drama and play writing and also started the developmental English program. Smolin is also president of the board of the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative, an organization that works to promote local talent by booking stage readings of their plays.

Smolin became acquainted with Daniel Selznick when he directed a play in Cincinnati one year ago. "He asked, 'When can I see your work?' So, I gave him a script on which he has worked for a while and he has been extremely flattering of my work."

She calls "Body Contact" a comedy about an older, single couple, who, "despite flab, sag and wrinkles are still looking for love and romance. They're out on their first date." Smolin finished writing the play in February. Pauline Smolin

"I tried to make a comedy out of a serious subject, because you never stop wanting a relationship. It's just that this time, the woman is having more of a problem with his body image than he is having with hers. Usually, it's the other way around."

Smolin recalls loving the theater back when she was just a little girl. Growing up in the Bronx, her father took her to her first play when she was just three years old. Her favorite playwrights are Anton Checkhov and Harold Pinter.

Local theater fans will be able to see a staged reading of one of Smolin's plays in November. Her play, "Shylock's Daughter" will be read Nov. 19 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in the Fifth Third Bank Theater.

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