UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 05 Fall 16 Library
Photo by Michael Bailey: The cast & crew of The Arctic Circle(and a recipe for Swedish pancakes) with director Doug Grissom

The Arctic Circle (and a recipe for Swedish pancakes)

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Thomas Wolfe famously wrote, “You can’t go home again.” Samantha Macher begs to differ. The UVA graduate and acclaimed playwright found her way back to the University last spring when her alma mater mounted a production of her play The Arctic Circle (and a recipe for Swedish pancakes) as part of the UVA Drama season. The collaboration was suggested by faculty member Doug Grissom, who had worked closely with Macher during her time on Grounds and had been following her career. After receiving her BA from UVA, Macher pursued a graduate degree at Hollins University and became the youngest graduate ever at the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins. She has since seen her work produced more than 20 times in the United States and around the world. This collaboration was not the first time Macher has reached out to help UVA Drama students hone their crafts. 

While in Washington, she provided platforms for UVA playwrights by helping them mount workshops at local theatre companies in the DC area. “I read this play a few years ago in its one-act form,” Grissom said, “and had always really liked it. So I approached her to see if she would be interested in doing it at UVA and to see if she might be interested in expanding it.” Macher worked closely with Grissom and the students, making frequent visits to Charlottesville. “It was a very fluid process,” Grissom said. “I think the actors really enjoyed it and got a lot out of working directly with the playwright, which you don’t often get to do. “The project was equally rewarding for Grissom. “It was great to see someone pass it on from one generation to another,” he said. “To know Samantha as a playwriting student, who had not done much playwriting at all when she first took my class, then to see her develop and become a successful playwright on her own and come back in a mentorship role with my students was really wonderful.”

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