Written by Rachael Barefield
His hands aren’t idle, constantly wringing or cracking his knuckles as he thinks over his answers. As a senior Theater major with a concentration in Acting, Chandler Pennington is no stranger to being the center of attention. “I always liked making up stories when I was younger, but I never enjoyed the writing process. I’ve been acting for a while, but right now I’m kind of transitioning more to writing and less of acting. My parents aren’t too happy with that,” he laughs, “they’ve always liked watching me on the stage and now they can’t anymore. But they’ve always supported me.” He says his family is ordinary, but consistently mentions them as his largest advocates.
Chandler is from Dallas, Texas and has two sisters, one older and one younger. He plans to return to Texas after graduation. “I don’t really have any specific goals with moving back. It’s familiar to me, is the main thing. I just plan on writing more and hopefully getting some more of my plays picked up.” Playwriting is not a new skill, as Chandler has written collections of plays and even had his first play Cul de Sac performed on stage at Anderson University. He cites David Ives and Neil Simon as his inspiration for playwriting.
Chandler’s play Is There a War On? is the first of its kind to be accepted by Ivy Leaves, now in its 93rd issue. Is There a War On? belongs to a collection of space plays, a genre of science fiction written for the stage. His favorite genres are comedy and science fiction, particularly for the stage. He believes science fiction has not been performed well in theater because it has not used the theater’s strength: dialogue. “You can get away with a lot of dialogue in theater, not so much in fiction. It’s one of theater’s strengths, and I really like creating something that caters to that strength.” Chandler wants to make science fiction relevant and serious for theater.
His hands wring and knuckles crack as he thinks over his answers. But when asked about his favorite thing about playwriting, Chandler stills and grins. His mind goes back to when Cul de Sac was performed. “Hearing the audience laugh and clap to something I had made, it was thrilling. It was really rewarding to see something I had made be accepted like that. That’s just kind of why you do it, you know?”