It began in a dorm room—a brainstorming session between two first-year students, and more importantly, two friends. It ended on a stage, with a fade to black, and those final words they had written still resonating in the air around them. In between these two moments in time, Caroline happened, and what started as an idea became an experience, not just for Cory Collins and Cameron Lindsey, but for the audience with which they shared it.
Lindsey and Collins set out to tell a story. On the surface, it appeared to be a story that had been told before—a story of two men, connected by a mutual love for a woman (Caroline), forced to confront whether their relationship can be maintained without her. Their story is different from clichéd narratives of old, however.
"We wanted to tell it in a way that was truthful—that was raw," says Collins. Through the connected memories of Graham and Coby, the play revealed a psychological journey and a rare glimpse into the intimacy of male companionship. The play begins with the proclamation that "it's over" and ends in a place of ironically hopeful darkness, in a moment that could be a whole new beginning.
Lindsey and Collins hoped for a two-man show that would extend beyond them and connect to everyone—all ages, all genders, and all who came to see. They never imagined the impact it would ultimately have.
"There were tears from men, fits of laughter from women, and vice versa," Collins noted. "I've been a part of many productions, and never do I remember such genuine emotional response from an audience. It was overwhelming and rewarding. To hear mine and Cameron's words echo into the darkness, swallowed by the collective breath of both friends and strangers, and achieve their purpose—never have I felt a dream more fulfilled. It was magical."
One professor reached out to them, praising the play for "beautiful and insightful" writing. That's all they needed to make the experience worth the effort. After weeks upon months upon years of work, they did it for free. "And I'd do it again in a heartbeat," Collins says.
Lindsey sums it up when he says, "Working on Caroline has been such a rewarding experience. It has helped me develop as an actor, as a writer, and as a person. Not to mention, being a campus superstar is pretty awesome, too."
That's the beauty of it. At many schools, it's easy to get lost in the masses—to be ignored as being too young, too inexperienced, and unready. At Transylvania, if you are willing to work hard, dream hard, and go beyond what is expected of you, you have the opportunity to stand out on campus.
Lindsey and Collins took a chance, and what began as two freshmen in a dorm room ended on a stage with an ovation. Here, that's possible—if you want it. And that's special. It really is.