The summer before her senior year at Yale University, Marina Keegan ’08 wrote the script that became the folk musical Independents with the help of three other Yale students. In early August, the play was accepted by and performed at the New York International Fringe Festival, where it was then selected from a pool of 200 shows as one of the top 18 plays that resonated with young adults.
Keegan, along with a lyricist, a songwriter, and a director, first produced the musical last fall at Yale, after which the team raised money to bring it to the Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America. According to Fringe Festival artistic director Elena Holy, as quoted in a New York Times theater review by Larry Rohter, the musical “was fun and moving and very current, all of which spoke to us, plus it has a lovely score and wonderful characters… it really speaks to [Marina’s] generation.”
The musical takes place on an 18th century ship where nine friends on the brink of adulthood pretend to be part of a revolutionary reenactment while smuggling marijuana in between Canada and Massachusetts. When the crew’s captain disappears, the young adults are forced to actually pull off historical reenactments in order to solve their issues.
Video: Marina Keegan ’08 and her collaborators filmed this video to promote their play.
English Teacher Beth McNamara, who taught Keegan during her sophomore and senior years and stayed in touch with her throughout college, traveled to Manhattan this September to see the play while it was still running. She said, “Despite my own powerful emotions in seeing the show after Marina’s death, for the most part I was able to lose myself quite happily within the story, the words, and the characters—a tribute to what she and her collaborators were able to create.”
Additionally, in the past two months there have been two New York Times articles covering the success of Keegan’s play and the tragic nature of her death. According to another New York Times review by theater critic Andy Webster, “…[the play] is a thing to savor… How fortunate we are to be in the company of these performers, and to cherish Ms. Keegan’s lasting presence in her art.”
Photo: Keegan’s musical, Independents, received national praise. Photo courtesy of newyorktheatrereview.blogspot.com