“Scuba Lessons,” written by Joseph Zeccola and directed by senior Maria Rojas, is a coffee house drama through the point of view of a neurotic twenty-something named Kelly Donovan. The painfully self-aware character, Miss Donovan, is played by USF theater veteran Meghann Hayes. Below, the two interview each other about making “Scuba Lessons” and where their lives are as they finish their days at USF.
Meghann Hayes: I wanted you to explain the whole Cabaret Class because it’s a cool new thing, and the [Gill] Series, too.
Maria Rojas: Well, my sophomore year at USF I was in Cabaret Class with Ken Sonkin, and the class is basically getting to know theater. You put on a production; you direct it, you don’t act in it. I came across this script, ‘Scuba Lessons’ online. It was really short—one act—and so I was like, ‘I can do this, I can direct that the easiest. I won’t have to pick a scene and really worry about it.’ I had Isaac [Samuelson], he was Dan in it, and he’s back. It was a good experience for me because I’ve never directed before. It’s cool for me to see it now, to see a full-length version of it, to put everything on by myself.
MH: That’s exciting.
MR: It’s pretty exciting—College Players giving me the opportunity to actually produce the whole thing.
MR: How does it feel to graduate soon?
MH: It’s been interesting. I’m kind of in a weird limbo because I did graduate in May. I did my undergraduate here and I’m in a dual degree program so I’m in grad-school for a year. It’s been interesting because a few of my friends are in the program with me and a few of my friends are trying to find “big kid jobs.” It’s been an odd transition but it’s been good.
MR: You’re getting your degree in…
MR: So what makes you like acting so much? I’ve seen you with Dave [Binegar] and all his video production stuff.
MH: I’ve always been a big fan of movies, ever since I was little. I grew up with a lot of old movies and when I got to college I auditioned for the Improv Team and I didn’t make it actually but then I got involved with “Play in a Day.”
MR: Yeah “Play in a Day” yeah…
MH: I loved it. I got a lot of feedback so I just kept going and it’s been a blast.
MR: How did you envision Kelly Donovan?
MH: I like how you said she kind of reminded you of a Reese Witherspoon because I see Reese Witherspoon as someone who can be really bubbly but also someone who can be really awesomely sarcastic and really dry—I mean how she was in “Election.” I saw her in “Penelope” and she played the best friend, but she was so funny. So I like that you said to think of her because she has such versatility.
MR: What do you do to prepare yourself [as Kelly Donovan]?
MH: Um, oh gosh… I guess I just try and put myself in that mindset. I think the hardest thing was trying to be someone who is secretly in love with a guy like Dan! Because at first glance it’s not someone at all who I would date.
MR: You mean Isaac! Isaac!?
MH: I meant Dan-uh!!
MH: I think you put it really well when you said that it doesn’t really matter when you find someone that you know, makes you laugh… someone you click with; it doesn’t really matter if they like sports or not or if they like the same movies as you do.
MR: Yeah, you put that stuff aside.
MH: They’re minor details.
MR: Everybody has their little quirks or things that get you annoyed. It’s all about looking past that.
“Scuba Lessons, ” is the first show of the College Players’ Gill Series, which features one-act plays directed by students. The show runs from September 25th to September 26th in UC 222. Showtime is 9 p.m. and admission is free.