Q&A: Student playwright A.J. Roy, writer of ‘The Alligators’


Rafi Letzter/Daily Senior Staffer

Communication sophomore Daniel Stompor takes center stage during “The Alligators.” The show, written by student playwright A.J. Roy, ran from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14.

Hayley Glatter, Arts and Entertainment Editor


The final curtain may have closed Saturday night for “The Alligators,” but the work for playwright A.J. Roy is far from over. The show tracks the rise and fall of an alligator-themed mini golf course and its effect on the founders and their families. The Communication senior has lived and breathed his script for more than 18 months and sat down with The Daily to talk about his artistic journey and the next steps for his wacky show.

What first inspired you to write “The Alligators?”

I knew that I was going to be (in a year-long playwriting) class and I was on a vacation with my family and I was really just struck by the idea of how… everyone is trying to pretend to be happy and pretend like they’re trying to escape from their everyday lives, but that there are other things that come into play. And that was the lens of it, and then I got the idea of what if there were two men who started a mini-golf course, and how would a family try to cover that up, fail at covering that up and then how would it expose larger riffs in their relationship that we can then explore from there. So that was sort of the starting point. I pretty much knew that it was about two guys who started a mini-golf course.

What are you doing with it now that it’s run has finished?

This production has been super useful for me because the play is a pretty unusual thing, and that’s the kind of thing that you can’t just get from reading it around the table or in a living room. You really need to see what it’s like at 100 percent with people spending and investing a lot of time and energy in it. So now I feel like the next step for me is that I got a lot out of that production that I can then sort of change and continue to revise the script. That’ll give me a lot of work because it was really useful to see it for a bunch of different performances. After that, it will probably be talking to some people that I know, people that are looking at theater companies whose work aligns and whose mission statement aligns with what that play is and what purpose the play serves… I’m excited to see if this play can happen again.

What was it like to see it go up?

I told the cast on the closing night performance that I had no words, that I was just so thankful for them. There was something really really special about seeing this thing, this was just me sitting with a cup of coffee at night writing furiously on my laptop, and to see other people pour that same amount of passion into this thing that I had been working on for about 18 months pretty intensively, was such an honor. And really, I was so proud of how the cast, especially, got so invested in it and really felt like it was not just them telling my story, but that it was all of us telling a story that we were really passionate about. And that’s just so exciting; it’s exciting to see something that you love be loved by other people.

What sort of feedback have you gotten?

I’ve gotten great feedback. I think a lot of people, it’s a very strange play, and so a lot of people are very struck by it and a lot of times after the show, people didn’t really know how to respond to it. I’ve been really happy to hear that people are thinking about it sometimes a day or two afterwards, and my biggest goal with it was not to make it about one moral or one interpretation, but really, whatever you think it’s about, that’s what it’s about. And so seeing people who were able to accept that and be able to say, “I think it’s about this,” instead of just saying, “I don’t get it, I don’t get what that was about.” And that was really exciting. But it was also really cool to just see the connections that people were drawing about different parts of the script. It was useful to me as someone who knows that this is not the end product to get, “What was your favorite scene, what part of this character’s journey did you like the most?” and just to see what that was because it’s changed a lot over the course of this process of what people are responding to.

Email: [email protected]northwestern.edu
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