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Seamless Storytelling

Posted on 06.17.21 by Kathryn Canfield in College of Arts & Science

At a young age, Caroline Calvano harnessed her love of storytelling and began to share her writing with the world.

During the second grade, Caroline wrote her first script for her school Reader's Theater program, and, by the end of her third-grade year, she had written her first novel.

However, it wasn't until middle school when Caroline began to take her passion for writing seriously.

By the time Caroline was ready to graduate high school, Linfield was already in her sights as a potential school to pursue her passion for writing.

When she first stepped onto the McMinnville campus, she was confident Linfield was the school for her.

"I chose Linfield because once I came to tour the campus, I just got the feeling that Linfield was the right place for me and I couldn't explain exactly why," she said. "I'm really glad I chose to go here because everyone in the department is so willing to go out of their way to do so much extra work for their students and they are all so intelligent. I feel so lucky to work and be a part of this program."

Through Linfield's distinctive creative writing program, Caroline wrote and produced a play early in her college career alongside the Linfield Theatre department.

The Button Man podcast cover artBy the end of her first year, the story of The Button Man was ready to take the stage.

The Button Man tells the tale of Pax Jones, an unmotivated college freshman, and his descent to madness at the hands of the story's antagonist, the Phisherman.

Throughout his freshman year, Pax finds himself skipping class and struggling to keep his scholarship. Later, the floundering student comes into contact with the Phisherman, who offers him the job of his dreams. While Pax thinks he is going to be testing out video games for the Phisherman, he is instead carrying out his master plan. Brainwashed with no way to escape, Pax becomes wrapped up in the Phisherman's plan without a way out.

"In middle school, I had an idea for a novel that was a little different from The Button Man called The Land of Nightmares," said Caroline. "In the story, there was a character similar to the Button Man, who also had the task of pushing buttons and torturing people similar to the play.

It wasn't until later the fall of Caroline's first year when a Linfield University alum came to campus for a playwriting workshop that she decided to expand on that character to create a 10-minute play.

Later on, The Button Man was extended to 30 minutes for the Linfield Theatre Podcast Productions.

Linfield Theatre Podcast ProductionsThanks to Caroline and the fantastic team that helped her story become a reality, The Button Man found success in the Linfield Theatre Podcast Productions this past spring.

From working on The Button Man and adapting the story to a podcast format, Caroline's most significant takeaway was that specific scripts lend themselves to certain formats. Moving forward, she hopes to continue her scriptwriting and work again with the theatre department when COVID is over.

"I had nights when I was super emotional. It was hard to really take in that I wrote this," said Caroline. "The Linfield Theatre department and sound designers did such a good job of making it come to life. Everyone involved just did such a great job, so I am really happy with how it turned out."

Caroline's future in storytelling is bright, and it won't stop when she leaves Linfield.

Upon graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school and further her fictional storytelling and scriptwriting pathway. Caroline hopes to see her stories come to life on the stage in the future here at Linfield and beyond for everyone to enjoy.

"Thanks to Linfield, I have definitely gained so much knowledge about the ins-and-outs of what it's like being a professional writer," says Caroline. "However, the biggest thing I've learned is that to produce the best writing, it is crucial to turn off that inner critic, and you have to stop saying that it isn't good."

To listen to Caroline's story of The Button Man and the rest of the student-led podcasts from the Linfield Theatre program's 2021 season, visit Linfield Theatre Podcast Production's profile on Spotify.