Crash Victim's Play Takes Center Stage in Wellfleet

Marina Keegan, a longtime Wayland resident, was killed in a car crash last May, just week's after graduating from Yale University.

Audiences will get a glimpse into Marina Keegan's thoughts and creative gifts Thursday night as her play "Utility Monster" enjoys its first preview at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

That glimpse comes just over a year after Keegan, a lifelong Wayland resident, graduated from Yale University and almost a year to the day since she died in a tragic vehicle accident in Dennis on May 26, 2012.

In the past year, Keegan's legacy has become something of legend, with her Yale Daily News Essay "Opposite of Lonliness" spreading around the world and her friends and family continuing to work on the plays she dreamed of seeing performed.

"The Independents," a musical for which Keegan wrote the book, debuted in the New York International Fringe Festival last August, earning stellar reviews and a rare extended run.

And while Kevin and Tracy Keegan, Marina's parents, were thrilled to see their daughter's work realized in New York, Kevin Keegan said they dreamed of seeing it on a Massachusetts stage.

That dream will come true Thursday when the first preview of "Utility Monster" takes place in a Wellfleet theater.

Dan Lombardo, the artistic director of Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, told The Boston Globe that Kevin Keegan approached him last summer and told him, "My daughter was a playwright."

Soon, Lombardo continued, he had a DVD of "The Independents" and a script for "Utility Monster."

Lombardo was impressed.

Marina’s fluidity with dialogue and the way she builds characters, immediately you knew these were authentic people on the stage,” Lombardo told the Globe. “There were no stereotypes, no cliches, no throwaway lines. It’s beautifully evocative writing, and you wanted to know what was going to happen to these characters.”

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater will preview "Utility Monster" Thursday and Friday, May 23-24, with its national premiere run to take place May 25-June 22.

According to the theater's website, "Utility Monster" is a "fable about love, personal sacrifice, and how we value human life."

"Utility Monster" focuses on two teenagers who learn that they can save the life of a child in Africa for the price of a Taco Bell lunch. The play follows their increasingly dramatic fundraising efforts and explores altruism and its complications.

"She said she never met anyone her age who hasn’t agonized about what to do with one’s life,” Tracy Keegan told the Globe. "'Utility Monster' raises the question of responsibility, asking if anything that doesn’t directly benefit people who need help is worth doing."

"Utility Monster" will run on various days at 8 p.m. through Saturday, June 22. Tickets are available online.


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