Gruesome Playground Injuries

Will Schorno, Scene Writer

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Central Washington University theatre club’s next big performance, “Gruesome Playground Injuries” by Rajiv Joseph, is right around the corner and aims to please audiences with a tale filled with the familiarity of human interaction.

The plot of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” revolves around an ever-changing relationship between characters Kayleen and Doug. The two are seemingly bound together by fate as injuries, both internal and external, bring them together in different periods of their lives. The confrontation of trauma in their lives spans over 30 years. Their first instance of mutual injuries happens on a playground during their adolescence.

Performance bachelor of fine arts (BFA) Matt Ober,  who is playing the role of Doug, said, “we’ve been exploring the movement of the swing set. [Doug and Kayleen] are both on the swing set, but they’re never together in the swing… they just briefly connect,” —the connection is circumstantial.

Perhaps the biggest attraction in “Gruesome Playground Injuries” is the characters themselves. Kayleen and Doug come from two family backgrounds and have only one thing in common: their injuries. While Kayleen was prone to mental turmoil as a result of her home life, Doug was raised in a family prone to pranking, which left him with physical injuries.

Every aspect of the play is relatable, because of its ability to capture moments of human nature. From the small intimate staging to the story itself, the play portrays the faults we as humans face when trying to express ourselves.

Theatre studies bachelor and play director Allison Prince said what really sets this performance apart from others is “just how relatable it is in forms of how we communicate as people. A lot of what we say isn’t what we want to say, and how we go about that. How we go about feeling broken but still try to maintain some semblance of a relationship.”

The play removes all restraints when diving into the heavier aspects of relationships and keeps familiarity a constant underlying theme for all audience members .

“It’s not the ways in which they’re broken, it’s the time in which they’re broken that brings them together. They happen to be broken in different ways during similar times, which is why they end up leaning on each other and it ends up being the reason why the relationship is necessary,” said Grace Helmcke, a performance BFA major and the actress portraying Kayleen.

In many ways, “Gruesome Playground Injuries” shares a message that is up for audience interpretation, which makes the premise that much more fascinating.

“The show will be different for everyone depending on their life story,” Helmcke said. “What they need from it is what they’ll get.”

The cast of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” hopes to provide comfort for those who attend the performance with a story filled with heart and deeply-ingrained humanism. “We’re trying to provide a two-hour chunk where people sit here and go ‘it is okay for me to be where I am in life. It’s okay for me to feel broken,’” Price said. The central focus of human nature will illustrate a picture that hits home for every audience member in many different ways.

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Gruesome Playground Injuries