'Human Error' Prepares Students to be Voice of New Generation in Theatre

‘Human Error’ Prepares Students to be Voice of New Generation in Theatre

Matthew Buckalew, Riley McDonald, Ana Zambrana and Oliver Flowers in 'Human Error.' (Photo by Hannah Estes)

UCF School of Performing Arts presents Human Error, a new play that runs June 14-24 and Aug. 23-26 on the UCF Main Stage. The production is part of Pegasus PlayLab, a summer theatre festival dedicated to developing plays by emerging playwrights. Human Error gives students and faculty the opportunity to create a fully mounted production of a new work that explores the political and social divide in our society in a human and humorous way.

“It’s refreshing to work on a contemporary piece because the script reflects conversations people are having in daily life. The reactions you see on stage are done in a truthful way that finds the comedic and human side of the characters,” says Matthew Buckalew, an acting student who plays the role of Jim in the production. “I think it’s necessary to let new works come alive and see how the audience interacts with them.”

For most students at UCF, Pegasus PlayLab is their first encounter working on a new play. “I don’t have any experience working on contemporary plays, so I think that’s one of the amazing things our artistic director, Julia Listengarten, has done is bring these new plays to the forefront for UCF to examine and to produce. It’s a unique experience you won’t find in other university theatre programs,” says Ramon Paradoa, assistant director of Human Error working on his master’s in theatre. “When working on a new piece, you’re going in with a blank slate and don’t have any expectations in regards to what you’re going to see. What you see the actors bring to life is something you didn’t expect and is something you get to watch unfold before your eyes.”

For Be Boyd, director of Human Error, working on new plays is about valuing the next generation of emerging playwrights. “We have the opportunity to be the voice of the new generation. We need to foster new playwrights and tell their stories in unique ways,” Boyd says. “It’s recognizing that those famous playwrights got their start in a very similar way to what we are doing and we are honoring that process. This is the generation that has to lay the groundwork for new classics.”

Boyd says the greatest thing students get from working on a new piece like Human Error is the fluid workshopping process.

“They have to stay on their toes,” she says. “They know that at any moment, the script could change. They have to be flexible, they have to have a collaborative spirit and they have to respect the text because something could be snatched from them and rewritten at any moment.”

Those who are new to theatre may not understand how a play comes to life, and Boyd hopes that audiences attending Human Error and other Pegasus PlayLab events will better understand the role of the playwright in this process – from the initial spark of an idea to opening night.

Human Error by Eric Pfeffinger 

After an unfortunate mix-up by their blundering fertility doctor, a couple is mistakenly impregnated with the wrong child. Now two very different couples face sharing an uproarious nine-month odyssey of culture shock, clashing values, changing attitudes and unlikely – but heartfelt – friendships.

Directed by Be Boyd

Join the cast and crew for a post-show reception following today’s 7:30 p.m. opening-night performance. The rest of the schedule is:

  • June 15-16 and 21-23 at 7:30 p.m.
  • June 24 at 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 23-25 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 26 at 2 p.m.

Tickets $20, $10 with UCF ID