Profile: Skyline’s Maggie Lareau is excited to see her words come to life at upcoming festival

Skyline Theatre is excited to announce the first-ever Blue Sky New Works Festival – an evening featuring the world premiere of five brand-new short plays. Four of the plays are written by Skyline students and one by a staff member. Skyline Theatre presents “Blue Sky New Works Festival,” directed by Brodie H. Brockie, on Feb. 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Skyline Auditorium, 2552 N. Maple Rd, Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

Maggie Lareau always wanted to put pen to paper and let her creativity take off by using her words to set the scene or tell a story or make a point – or all of the above.

“As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer,” says Lareau. “In second grade, I begged my mom (who begrudgingly obliged) to print and laminate my first book, written on Microsoft Word 2010 and titled Emma the Unicorn. Since then, I’ve kept writing, my favorite genre being short stories. I haven’t yet completed a novel, but it’s the next thing on my list!”

The very next thing on her list will be next weekend’s Blue Sky New Works Festival. The Skyline senior is one of four student writers whose play will hit the stage on Feb. 28 and 29 in the Skyline Auditorium.

“The Seed Sorters” is about a pair of workers set in the future who sort seeds in slow, mindless work, but one of them begins to wonder if the drudgery isn’t really just to keep them from thinking.

Lareau, 17, says the majority of her inspiration came from the documentary “SEED: The Untold Story,” which chronicles the importance of the seed when it comes to free agriculture and how huge corporations have eclipsed small-scale farmers when it comes to distributing the world’s seed supply.

Maggie Lareau as the eavesdropping food critic in “Vibe Check.” Photo by Lisa Gavan.

“It made me realize the power that a seed can have; the entire agricultural process begins with a single seed,” she says. “I began imagining a world where this power was taken to the ultimate extent. In The Seed Sorters, the characters’ lives are wholly dominated by a seed-distributing mega-corporation that controls the populace through their monopoly on seeds.”
Lareau also was inspired by the discontent that a lot of young people feel today regarding the future of the job market and economy. The main characters in The Seed Sorters are only in their late teens, but already work long hours at an unrewarding job in order to make ends meet.

“I think the current state of the world has caused a lot of my generation to already fear becoming trapped in a similar situation, and my play mirrors this,” she says.

Writing a story and then seeing it become a play is an interesting, challenging and often exciting process. And Lareau is excited to see her characters come to life and her story be told.

“In a written story, you have a much easier time showing how a character is feeling internally,” she says. “When it comes to plays, you have to do your best to convey these same feelings through dialogue; the rest of the responsibility falls on the actors’ portrayal.

“I think the actors cast in my show are doing a wonderful job, and I can’t wait to see the final product on stage.”

And she’s enjoying the process.

So weird! But cool,” she says. “I actually love seeing how the actors choose to interpret my show. Sometimes, it’s totally different from what I envisioned, but that’s the best part, seeing them make it their own.

Lareau, who is a Peer 2 Peer Board Member, has a 3.9 GPA and has been involved in theater since she was 11 years old. Her long list of credits include shows with A2CT Junior from her first “Anne of Green Gables” (2013, Young Anne), to her final show with the company, “The Jungle Book Junior” (2016, Bagheera).

She also has done several shows with Skyline Theatre such as “Romeo and Juliet” (2017, Nurse) and “Shakespeare in Love” (2019, Queen Elizabeth). She also did make-up for Skyline Theatre’s 2018 Spring Musical Shrek.

Lareau has applied to several schools within Michigan, and a few out-of-state ones where she hopes to study English this coming fall. “I hope to eventually work in the publishing industry, and my dream would be to have some of my own novels published one day,” she says. “I’d also love to intern with a publishing or media company this summer. So, hey, if any publishers happen to read this, email me!”