Student displays playwriting prowess


Student Ty Quillon performs in the “Dream Play” last semester.

Briana Aultz, Copy Editor

Junior Ty Quillon has had two original plays selected for a four-play festival of directed- and acted performances.

“Dying to See You,” an afterlife-themed work, is to be performed at the festival called Golgonooza. In addition, Quillon’s “Black Friday from Hell,” a farce about retail workers, has been chosen.

“I was ecstatic,” Quillon said, describing the moment he found out that both plays got picked.

Quillon said he stumbled upon associate professor Eric Schwerer’s Playwriting class, a happy accident that enhanced his Pitt-Johnstown experience and has led to his playwriting goals.

“I was in the middle of rearranging my schedule, and I literally walked by the classroom and I saw all my friends sitting in there.”

Quillon said that the class sounded fun and he joined on a whim.

Based on his theater background, Quillon said playwriting came naturally. He said Schwerer’s class introduced him to an art form that he plans to continue well after his college career.

“Black Friday from Hell” was inspired by Quillon’s summer job at Boscov’s, and the experience of observing the clichés retail co-workers use.

“Dying to See You,” depicts the post-mortem ordeal of Jacob, a young man who dies on an operating table, and arrives in the waiting room for the dead. Quillon describes the play as a lighthearted look at death, with a live-life-to-the-fullest message.

The playwriting process for Quillon includes understanding the angle and genre of the tentative play and picking developed characters.

“I pick characters that I feel I can relate to, but aren’t necessarily exactly like me.”

“My process was writing for a purpose. What I mean by that was to fulfill a general desire of mine for this piece of work I was trying to create.”

As an actor, Quillon has collaborated with both UPJ faculty and students, who praise his theatrical skills.

Theatre Arts Head Professor John Teacher, worked with Quillon on a 2013 production of “Dream Play,” originally by August Strindberg.

“I love working with Ty. I think he absolutely has the ability to succeed in the field,” said Teacher.

“I am very eager to see where he goes when he leaves here. He’s got a very bright future ahead of him.”

For Quillon, working on “Dream Play” proved both rewarding and challenging.

“To perform his (Strindberg’s) work was not only really difficult, but it got me the chance to experience other aspects of theater that I hadn’t gone into yet.”

“Because of ‘Dream Play’, myself and two other students got the chance to go to a theater festival to compete for a theater scholarship.”

Daniel Freeman, a theatre major and Quillon’s former director, describes the talented actor as gifted.

The two worked on “Death of a Salesman” together, where Quillon played Biff, the protagonist’s older son.  Freeman’s play “Cliff Diving in the Galapagos” has also been chosen for Golgonooza.

Quillon began acting around age 7. As a dual major in theatre and communication, he credits acting as a great preparation for the professional world and building universal people skills.

“The ability to be able to talk in front of people and not be nervous I think is a godsend for me. It’s a blessing, and I’m so happy to have developed that at such a young age.”

Quillon is determined to have success in acting, whether on-screen or on-stage. “I don’t know how, but I’m gonna do it,” he said about his acting aspirations.

“Even if I’m a dying old man, I will do it.”

Quillon’s “Dying to See You” is to be shown at Golgonooza Feb. 26 and 27 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.