Libby Emmons Play Opens in New York

March 18, 2016

Libby Emmons’s ’07 new play I Am Not an Allegory (these are people i know) is running through March 26 at UNDER St. Marks in Manhattan. The play, told through the perspectives of six women in the same dance class, addresses issues related to sex, faith and race in the lives of young, overeducated underachievers.

The inspiration for the play came after Emmons graduated from the Theatre MFA Program. “Grad school is this crazy thing where everything you think you know is burned into a pile of ashes,” she said. “Just as I felt I was starting to really envision the work I wanted to make, I became pregnant. Good news, no doubt, and I love my kid and all that—couldn't do without him—but I felt massively conflicted. I wanted to be spend time mothering him, and I wanted to make art. I was spinning in mental circles, so I started to write this play. It's very personal for me; I feel very close to these characters.”

Emmons has known and worked with the play’s director, Ali Ayala, for several years, since the two were introduced by Ayala’s then-boyfriend. “They're not together anymore, but we are,” joked Emmons. KL Thomas, a producer on the project, has been with the play from the beginning, working first on a reading of it with Horse Trade Theatre and then on a small workshop, before launching this full production. “It's been fun to work on it over so many iterations,” Emmons said. “Some of the cast has remained, some are new. It was funny because at the first read-through, everyone in the cast knew someone else in the cast, even though not everyone knew each other. I'm really thrilled with them; they are all terrific.”

Since graduating from Columbia, Emmons has been working on Sticky, a series of short plays performed at bars. But her artistic output extends beyond the stage: She is also writing a novel, which she describes as “a really wild experience.”

As busy as she is now with her life and family, she looks back on her days in graduate school fondly. “Mostly I remember how vibrant it felt to work so intensely, and to have the other people in my daily life, my classmates, be just as passionate as I was—that was great,” she recalled. “And how useless it is to compare your work to that of others.”

Tickets for I Am Not an Allegory (these are people i know) can be purchased here. Emmons also blogs