Play examines May 4 one minute at a time

Kyle McDonald

‘Blanket Hill’ shows three viewpoints about the shootings

“Blanket Hill,” the sole production of this year’s Student Theatre Festival, presents a new theatrical interpretation of the May 4 incident that still resonates 40 years later.

The production, written and directed by undergraduate Kay Cosgriff, will be performed in Room B005, also known as “The BOO,” of the Music and Speech Center.

Cosgriff designed “Blanket Hill” to actively engage the audience in a live, minute-by-minute interpretation of the events that took place on May 4, 1970. To do so, all 10 student cast members remain on stage the entire hour-long runtime.

The play tells the still controversial story from three viewpoints: three National Guard soldiers, five students and two attorneys arguing the case of both sides. At every given point in the play while whatever side is giving its view, the others continue acting in slow motion in the background.

“It’s done in a unique way and presented with a lot of symbolic meaning,” said Lindsey Ryb, junior theater major and actress in the production.

An important factor in writing the play was leaving bias out of the script, Cosgriff said.

“I simply present, and you take what you want,” Cosgriff said.

Cosgriff believes that in “Blanket Hill,” the human side of all parties involved is presented.

“It’s a very unique style of writing,” said Kayla McDonald, sophomore theater major and “Blanket Hill” performer. “You get a good look at everybody’s side, which helps you appreciate more of the side you don’t necessarily agree with.”

There are several elements of the production that set it apart from a typical theatrical performance. The performance space is much smaller than a theater-size venue and holds an ad hoc seating arrangement giving a more intimate feel to the audience.

Cosgriff said while the play isn’t intended to be an interactive experience, there are points throughout it where the actors directly speak to the audience.

“You go right to where we want you to be, the bar goes down and you’re ours for a while,” she said.

Contact performing arts reporter Kyle McDonald at

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