Lauryn Glenn as Holly and Caleb Crawford as Dr. McNuthin’ in the Ohio University Theater Division’s production of “Holly Down In Heaven.” (Rachael Beardsley/WOUB Public Media)

OU Theater Division’s First Play of Spring Semester Kicks Off Feb. 21

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Ohio University Theater Division’s first play of the spring semester tells the story of a young girl who hides herself away in a basement full of talking dolls rather than face the struggles of growing up while pregnant.

In Holly Down in Heaven, written by Kara Lee Corthron, 15-year-old Holly banishes herself to the basement for a number of months in an effort to escape the world above. Through conversations with her dolls, she tries to come to terms with her own identity and her pregnancy.

Devante Martin as Holly’s father and Lauryn Glenn as Holly. (Rachael Beardsley/WOUB Public Media)

Director Brian Evans said the play is primarily about what it means to still be growing, no matter the stage in a person’s life. Although Holly is only 15, anyone can relate to her struggles, he said, because people are always growing and changing.

“It’s a process that never ends,” Evans said. “I think that’s the theme overall; we’re all growing, we’re all making mistakes, we’re all doing the best we can.”

During her nine-month self-exile in the basement, Holly faces the loss of her mother, new religious beliefs and the prospect of becoming, or not becoming, a mother. As a result, she often acts out against those around her.

Lauryn Glenn (Holly) and Devante Malone (Holly’s father). (Rachael Beardsley/WOUB Public Media)

“One of the biggest challenges for me with this character is that she is very mean,” said Lauryn Glenn, a senior BFA Acting major who plays Holly. “One of my biggest challenges as an actor is to get into her headspace. It’s like, okay, is this character going to stay in this child-like fantasy that she’s created for herself, or is she going to grow up and become an adult?”

Holly deals with her problems through the dolls, which are brought to life by puppetry. Evans said working with puppets presented a unique challenge to the students, and that a professional puppeteer was brought in to help actors learn how to handle the puppets. In addition, the crew received help from faculty with experience in puppetry. As a result, they were able to pull off an integral part of the play.

“I see the dolls as a side of Holly’s thoughts,” Evans said. “They talk to her like we talk to ourselves, trying to figure out what we think about something or feel about something, or when we question our own decisions or what we’ve said. She is dealing with serious issues and trying to discover who she is in the process.”

Holly Down in Heaven will be performed from February 21 to February 23 and February 26 to March 2 at 8 p.m. in the Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater at Kantner Hall. Admission is free for Ohio University students and $7 for all other students and seniors. General admission is $10.