Kent-based playwright’s ‘The Hummingbird’ finds home at Kent Stage

Theresa Edwards

Scott C. Wilson, playwright of “The Hummingbird,” works with actress Jennifer Dominguez during a dress rehearsal Sunday. The play runs Sept. 1 through Sept. 3 at the Kent Stage. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

Credit: Ben Breier

Ned is homeless. He has a drug addiction and mental problems. He sits patiently on a sidewalk asking for change.

Joe passes Ned and is more fortunate but denies him the pennies in his pocket.

Sometimes, making the decision to give Ned spare change can and will change society.

“The Hummingbird,” a play written by Scott C. Wilson, makes just that point.

What started as three single-act plays became one three-act play over the course of six years, Wilson said. The play offers alternate endings to the situation described above.

When he combined the plays, Wilson said it changed the dynamics of the stories.

“I wanted to take those individual characters and make them more a story about the community,” he said.

He said his plays are character-driven and the plot usually comes after the characters are created.

Wilson developed the play through people he has known through his life and used dialogue he has heard as inspiration.

He also used encounters he has had with people who have chemical addictions and mental illnesses as a part of his play. He said he has friends who have suffered and saw the way it devastated their lives and the lives around them.

Ned, the main character, is a combination of personalities from Wilson’s acquaintances and some of his life experiences.

Wilson is happy with the way the actors handle each character.

“They make a character real and bring them to life in a way a writer just can’t do with a pen,” he said.

Trevor Williams is a second-year architecture major at Kent State. He plays the role of Jake, a social worker, who tries to help the problems that arise but doesn’t fully understand each problem himself.

Jake is Williams’ third role in “The Hummingbird” because of the play’s loss and gain of cast members. As an actor, Williams said he didn’t use anything for his character except the interaction from other characters. He could have researched social workers for his role, but with so few lines relating to his character’s job, it wasn’t necessary.

Williams said he thinks a lot like his character, but he and Jake are opposites when it comes to behavior.

During the plays production, Williams interacted a lot with Wilson, who grew up in Kent and attended John Carroll University. Wilson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and classical literature and attained his master’s in literature at Dartmouth College.

Wilson also wrote the plays “Who Killed Mr. Blank?” and “Another Night in the Alley,” the latter of which was performed at Kent State in 2000 and is also about a homeless person. Both are single-act plays.

When it came time to write “The Hummingbird,” his third play, Wilson didn’t let his inexperience in certain areas get in the way.

“I like to look at the world through different perspectives,” he said. “I can’t get inside the head of a heroin addict, but if I create the character, it might help me to relate.”

Contact features correspondent Theresa Edwards at [email protected].