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Behind the Scenes of Belinda McCauley’s “Family Crimes”

(Emily Salswedel / The Index)

From Thursday, Feb. 11 to Sunday, Feb. 15, “Family Crimes”, a play written and directed by Belinda McCauley K’16, was shown in the Dungeon Theater. For McCauley, this took up a large amount of time. She first wrote a draft for this play the summer before she came to K. After that, she put it away until a year ago.

At the time of the performance, the script was in about its seventh and final draft, except for some minor edits throughout the process where McCauley added a line, removed another, or made some other small change. She continued these small changes all throughout the process, like cutting lines if, as McCauley said, “the lines just didn’t fit, it felt too contrived, or something else felt wrong.”

The ending had a couple of small changes made to it shortly before the first performance. Firstly, the grandfather, Jorge, used to have no lines, but a week before performing, McCauley added his single-word line, “Yes,” breaking his long silence through the play. She also added Estela’s final line of “Abuelita?” a couple days before performance just to see how it worked out, and it added a new feeling to the play.

The main plot of the story is interesting, as the play comes together as multiple characters’ stories and plots intertwine, with none necessarily being the main story. This comes together to make the story about the family and keeping secrets.

This really helps with what McCauley said is one of her biggest intentions, which is “to tell this story of oppressions and what they do to us—how we as people can feel forced into things because of our oppressions… but also how we inadvertently oppress each other.”

When asked whether there was a character McCauley felt was more central to the story, or a personal favorite, she mentioned that “Aureilia’s plot line is very near and dear to my heart. It sets everything into motion.”

After all this work and effort in both writing and directing “Family Crimes”, McCauley said seeing this play come to life “was amazing and incredible.” She added, “Every designer advisor, actor, and crew member has contributed to this production, making it much richer than I could have made it alone.” However, when asked about her future plans for the play and whether she would try to produce it elsewhere, she responded, “Maybe. I’m going to put it away for a little bit first. I’m a little sick of it.”

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Behind the Scenes of Belinda McCauley’s “Family Crimes”