The science of writing: University of Idaho student to debut full-length play

click to enlarge Vinecia Coleman - GARY BREEDLOVE
Gary Breedlove
Vinecia Coleman

By Dominique Wald dwald@dnews.com

MOSCOW — Just a few short years ago Vinecia Coleman was focused on medical school.

Today, she’s a playwright and preparing for the debut of her first full-length play next week.

“I thought I wanted to go to med school, but when I got there I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” the 26-year-old said. “I took an acting class to see how a writer approaches a piece of work, which I should have taken as a sign that I shouldn’t be pursuing medicine … and when it was over I remember having this warm feeling in my chest. Once I felt that, I didn’t want to let it go.”

It’s that warm feeling that led Coleman to the University of Idaho, where she’s earning a master’s degree in dramatic writing and directing, and readying for the premiere of her play, “Stationary Stationery,” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Forge Theatre on the Moscow campus.

The play details the life of a man who loses all of his memories, meets a new friend and, in the process of regaining those memories, realizes not everything is as it seems.

Coleman described the play’s genre as fantasy with a touch of mystery, but it mainly sparks the question, “Where are we?”

Growing up in Ohio, Coleman said she was never surrounded by a theater arts environment, nor did she pursue it as an undergraduate student at Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology.

Although microbiology and playwriting are about as opposite as apples and oranges, Coleman explained the two share a handful of similarities.

“Science is all about reason and logic, and I’m a very logical and practical person,” Coleman said. “There’s a beginning and an end, and it’s all about how we get there — that’s how I write.”

From writing “Stationary Stationery” two years ago to having its premiere right around the corner, Coleman said the play’s theatrical experience won’t end when audience members leave the theater but instead it will invigorate their imaginations.

Pulling inspiration from famous playwrights like August Wilson, Harold Pinter and, of course, Shakespeare, Coleman dreams of owning her own company someday so she can focus on original pieces.

Until then, Coleman is enjoying the opportunities the UI has given her.

“I’m honored that University of Idaho chose this play, and I’m incredibly honored at how dedicated the cast and director have been to seeing my vision through,” Coleman said. “Not only that, but they’re taking this play and making it their own. It’s very humbling.”

“Stationary Stationery” is the first play of the new year to be shown at the Forge. The play, which includes strong adult language and content, may not be suitable for children.

If you go: What: “Stationary Stationery” by University of Idaho playwright Vinecia Coleman. Tickets are free for UI students, $10 for general public and can be purchased at the door. When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Feb. 7 and 2 p.m. Feb 7-8 Where: The Forge Theatre, 404 Sweet Ave., Moscow

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