An Interview with Maia Aoibheil from Amazon Crime



image of maiaAn interview with Maia Aoibheil, one of the four student divisors of Amazon Crime conducted and written by Theatre 200 student Julie Whapham. 

According to Maia, “this piece started off as a character study. We had a prompt to follow that led us to brainstorm issues we were interested in, and one of those things was wealth disparity. There was a recent article out about Jeff Besos at the time, and it was sort of a joke at first of “what if we wrote a play about assassins trying to kill Jeff Besos?” and we evolved that question into the play you’ll see.”

Amazon Crime: Which Character Are You?

If you were in a high-stakes assassin plot to go after Jeff Besos, which role would you play on
the squad?

The Hacker: Quick with all things computers, you can clear any firewall before someone says “encrypted injection attack.”

The Seducer: Distraction is your specialty. The power of your presence alone will threaten the target’s security (as well as their heart). The only question that remains is what to wear…

The Med Student: Feeling tired of relentless school work and student loans? Maybe you’re into saving the world with the power of science? Either way you’re great at putting your brain to work for a good scheme.

The Shot: Decisive: finger to the trigger, you wait for all the pieces to come together
before you finish the job.

From there, the team built the characters by looking at hit movie archetypes and diving into a character study on assassins. They even got to perform a 10-minute version of this play at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). They have since grown in the process from writers to performers, to writers again, to the production team for the current production being produced by the Miami University Theatre Department.

Maia highlighted in her interview how “the piece thrives on the moral grey of it. Especially when
looking at wealth disparity, how do we not be complicit in a system that thrives off of being
complicit?” What an incentive for our characters, and a great reminder for us all! What will our
rowdy team of assassins do? 

What roles do you have in the Independent Artist Series?

One of four divisors of Amazon Crime, Stage Manager for Amazon Crime, Set Designer for Amazon Crime, Lighting Design for nonSense.

How are you balancing all those roles?

The script writing and devising process happened over winter term. We went right into rehearsals that first Monday. Stage Managing has been made easier by designers and actors who are divisors of the script. The newest thing for me is doing the lighting design for dance. It’s a very new and super exciting learning process.

I noticed you were one of four divisors for Amazon Crime, can you tell me more about this collaborative process?

Amazon Crime was derived from a 10-minute version of the script that went to KCACTF in January 2020. The divisors and I knew we wanted to expand it, and we worked hard to make it into the 45-55 minute full play it is now! It’s completely different with different characters. We have gotten to progress from writers, to actors, to writers again, to the production team we are now.

The 10 minute play started out as a character story. We actually followed a prompt for the festival that was something like “it is time to realign what our fathers have misaligned.” We came up with things we were interested in and thinking about. One of those things has been Wealth Disparity. This somehow progressed it into a hypothetical hit on Jeff Besos, which was totally a joke at first. Then we started looking at archetypes of hit movies. We have the distractor, the seducer, the hacker, the person that makes the shot, and this undergrad med student who does back alley work to do hits on people who they think deserve it. The piece thrives on the moral grey of it. These friends/assassins were trying to determine whether or not they should take the job of making the hit. After all, Jeff Besos isn’t just anybody, and they knew there would be implications for killing this wealthy dude. He’s a really big public figure after all! The first stage of this piece was much more of a comedy to the point where we decided to not kill him. During that process, we knew that that was the right ending for that version, but we were dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction led us to create the longer creation to where it ends now (I don’t want to spoil).

If you were one of these characters, which one would you be?

I created Alex. The hacker, Mel, is someone I think is super interesting especially in this version. 
They are paranoid but in a way that makes sense and is justified. How can the rest of the world just go on? All the divisors feel that going about our lives but how do we keep going without being complicit in a system that thrives off of us doing so.

What has the lighting design roll for nonSense been like?

I’ve only done lighting for theatre and small projects. Lighting dance is a new beast because what needs to be highlighted differs in comparison to traditional theatre pieces. Footlights are important because dancers want to see the body vs lighting dancers' faces is not as important. Playing with lights and rhythm is fascinating in the space where everything is a bit more manual. In nonSense, all the pieces are thematically connected based on the senses. Each sense experiences the world in a different way. Micki has done a great job playing with that which has made my job easier.

How have you grown most through IAS? What is your favorite part of this festival?

Devising Ceremonials my Freshman Year opened my eyes to the point of IAS. It taught me to be alright with making mistakes by giving me a reasonable learning environment. I learned to do things you're not always comfortable with all while adapting to a different space. These are all applicable skills to when I get out into the real world.

Why do you think audiences should tune in to see these IAS shows?

It is all completely original work. Everything is made and designed by students. This year, I think
audiences are gonna be excited by something new and adapted to this live streaming environment. And also, who wouldn’t be excited for things you don’t expect?

The student-run Miami University Independent Artist Series (IAS) provides an outlet for the creative work of students and encourages experimentation with theatrical form. The series is modeled after the "storefront" theatre movement and is produced entirely by students who serve as directors, designers, technicians, performers, stage managers, and marketers. The Independent Artist Series will premiere its final show on Sunday, February 21, at 7:30 p.m. with  Tell Me About the Other Side by Eleanor Alger. This piece examines three genocides in the late 20th century (in Germany, Rwanda, and the Balkans) and the ways that genocide uniquely impacts women. We see the beginnings and the aftermath of genocide in these respective countries. It is based on a lengthy research and interview process.

All shows can be found on the College of Creative Arts Youtube Channel. 


View nonSense on YouTube >

View Amazon Crime on YouTube >

View Tell Me About the Other Side on YouTube >