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Calderwood Gains Momentum

BU alums’ production parodies medieval morality plays

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Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell, Jordan Seavey, and Boo Killebrew in The Momentum at the Calderwood Pavilion. Photo by Max Ruby

“This is the weirdest thing we’ve ever done, and we have done some weird things,” says Boo Killebrew, cocreator of The Momentum. Written and performed by the theater company CollaborationTown, The Momentum, inspired by the desire to create a modern satirical version of the morality plays of the Middle Ages, is a hilarious and moving look at the self-help phenomenon. “There are a lot of similarities between morality plays and self-help,” says Killebrew (CFA’03), who also is a performer. “The stuff they say is all positive. It’s all about the self-improvement.”

The Momentum will be performed on Sunday, May 15, at 2 p.m. at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. It is one of the Huntington Theatre Company’s offerings in the Emerging America festival, a collaboration with the American Repertory Theatre and the Institute of Contemporary Art to present groundbreaking performances by American artists. The festival, May 13 to 15, includes events in Boston and Cambridge.

Christian morality plays were common entertainment during the medieval and Tudor periods. They were intended to educate the masses about religious right and wrong. But the team behind The Momentum found it difficult to identify with the plays’ black-and-white rules based on reward and punishment. They started looking for modern-day equivalents. Then someone said “self-help.”

The nonprofit theater company CollaborationTown was founded in 2003 by College of Fine Arts School of Theatre alumni who met at BU: Geoffrey Decas O’Donnell (CFA’03), Killebrew, Jordan Seavey (CFA’03), and T. J. Witham (CFA’01).

The Momentum has won a number of awards, including the 2010 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Best Play, and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick.

The Momentum will be performed on Sunday, May 15, at 2 p.m. at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston.

Vicki Schairer can be reached at Vschairer@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu.

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