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By day, Melissa Leach is the girl on the bus shamelessly listening in on everyone’s conversations. By night, Leach takes these conversations and crafts a world and characters around what she’s overheard–and showcases students putting their own take on these hijacked conversations.
Leach, a junior English major, is a playwright whose works will be showcased at the Boulder Fringe Festival on April 27, 28 and 29. Her featured plays include “Car 51″ and “A Place Within The Choir.” She also had one play in the Fringe Festival last year, “Cuz You’re Ugly.”
Leach started as a theater major but decided her passion was in writing the plays more so than acting in them.
“I like to eavesdrop on conversations to help me develop stories. It is different every time,” she said. “Sometimes I will develop a character before I write the plot, and sometimes I know the plot before I develop the characters.”
Leach also said she uses her personal experiences and likes to incorporate parts of herself into her characters.
“Cuz You’re Ugly” was written and directed by Leach.
“When I direct my work, I like to be moving and walking around constantly where the characters will be walking. I also talk about the characters as if they are real people,” she said.
Leach is also directing her upcoming play, “Car 51.” Pat Casey, a CU theater graduate will be directing “A Place Within The Choir.”
“I think she is really devoted to her writing, and she doesn’t cut corners,” Casey said. “I like her play. The end is not obvious, all the characters are connected and it is comical.”
During the summer of 2006, Leach attended the Kennedy Center Playwriting Convention in Washington, D.C. Out of 300 applicants, only 40 were selected, so getting in wasn’t easy. Leach said she really enjoyed the experience and made connections with other play writers.
When asked what the hardest part of writing is for her, Leach said, “I don’t write in a linear fashion, so making the piece coherent and connecting it all at the end is the hardest part for me.”
Lindsay Weber is a senior French major and actress in two of Leach’s plays.
Weber said, “I’m always so impressed with her work. Her writing is prolific, polished and has a distinct style that can compete with professional playwrights.”
When Leach was asked what her favorite part of writing plays is, she said, “I like to be able to live in someone else’s world for awhile. As a character it is easier to say what you want and be who you want.”
Leach hopes to open her own theater after she graduates.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Ashleigh Oldland at firstname.lastname@example.org.