A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Discovery of Who


Maeve Toman, Staff Writer

Rehearsal photos courtesy of Rachel Halstead.


A Discovery of Who was written and directed by Isaiah Morton ‘23 as part of his Senior Capstone Experience (S.C.E.). The S.C.E. is designed to give students the opportunity to present themselves through creation — in Morton’s case, within the realm of theatre. In choosing to write and direct a play for his, Morton created a story about the ideal freshman experience when arriving at college, and the journey through self-discovery that we all know so well. I was able to spend a few moments with Morton to gather some of his personal experiences through the development of the play, as well as an understanding of the overall dynamic within the production.


In order to develop an understanding of the creative writing process, I asked Morton to share some of his favorite aspects and some insight into the level of development that the play had undergone over time.


The inspiration for A Discovery of Who came from Morton’s desire to showcase some of his passions, including those he had acquired while being involved in the LUXE Show Choir here at Randolph-Macon College (R-MC). Some of these specific factors included dance, music, and other theatrical skills that are taught as part of the theatre curriculum. In addition to including these traits within the play, Morton also included some of his personal experiences, specifically as a person of color at a predominantly white institution (P.W.I.).

Morton stated, “I had this opportunity to tell stories that we don’t often get the opportunity to do.”  He was able to share some of his unique experiences here at R-MC through his work.

Additionally, Morton made it clear that he was inspired by the previous musical production Peter and the Starcatcher from last year. “I didn’t want us to go from the height of Peter and fall down,” he stated, “I wanted us to keep moving forward, so I had this challenge in mind and I took it.” In speaking with Morton, it was clear that he was very passionate about the project he had built and had pulled from all aspects of his career to craft such a detailed, charming work.

In an effort to understand the relationship between Morton and the cast of A Discovery of Who, I had Morton share some of his favorite aspects of the casting process and how it has evolved throughout the duration of the play. He shared that many of the cast had already been friends through show choir or other programs on campus. In working with people that he was familiar with and close to, Morton was able to really work with those individuals to create the show. He described it as a “learning experience” between himself and the rest of the cast because they were constantly trying new things and contributing different ideas.

“It was evident during the auditions that we had formed a perfect cast,” Morton shared.

He commended the cast for their motivation to put in the work that the show required, and their obvious dedication to the performance. “It was special to me that they felt that obligation to do this for me and the rest of the cast.”

Lastly, while speaking with Morton, I wanted to find out just what he hoped to convey to the audience, the campus, and anyone who happened to stumble across the play. He shared that he hoped his play would encourage the theatre community to take risks within their work. He hoped to inspire other students partaking in the S.C.E. to try different types of work and not limit themselves to traditional views of theatre. Morton also hoped that his work conveyed some ideas about the freshman experience and make others aware that they aren’t alone in their experiences. “The biggest theme of the show deals with identity and accepting who you are,” he explained. Overall, A Discovery of Who was appealing to all walks of life here on the R-MC campus, and Morton worked hard to convey these important messages to not only students but everyone in the audience.

Additionally, some of the cast and band members, including Myles Blue ‘25, Sarah Steverson ‘26, Grace Wunder ‘26, and Faith Hubbard ‘23, were willing to share their perspectives on the production and just how deeply they enjoyed participating. Collectively, the cast all felt that they were able to connect not only with the play itself but with each other as a cohesive unit to put on the show.

Steverson exclaimed, “We got along really fast and clicked really fast with each other.”

Blue also shared that he found it easy to get along with some of the members of the cast that he had not known prior to the production but felt that the friendships developed could last a long time post-show.

It was also interesting to hear about how each cast member felt they related to the themes within the play.

Hubbard shared, “I have a lot of the same values as Isaiah and the characters that he created, so I was able to relate to that through creating music for the show.”

Blue, who played the lead character Him, said, “When I read about the character, I ended up connecting with him more than I thought I would. It was easy to connect with Him.”

The depth at which this cast felt connected to each other and to the content of the show made it quite easy for the audience to sense through the work itself.

A Discovery of Who had truly been a monumental show that allowed the audience to connect from their own personal experiences. While watching the show, there were many moments of emotion, humor, and cohesive performance that all made for a fantastic production of entertainment. Being the only performance from the theatre department for the semester, it was clear that Morton enjoyed creating the show and made an impact on the audience and on the rest of the R-MC campus.