August 3—Cheyenne Malfaro has taken up the stage for a decade.
“Ever since I did my first show, I fell in love,” she said.
She performed in her first play at the age of 13, and in the years since has been a frequent and passionate member of the local theater community. High school graduate Owen J. Roberts is also a popular singer-songwriter.
But of all the performances she has done, there is one that stands out above the rest. There is one that is particularly unique and personal.
And from Friday, she will have the chance to share it for five nights.
Malfaro, 23, is directing and producing a play she wrote herself: “House of the Rising Sun”. Proceeds from the performances will support Red Corner Benefit, a local non-profit organization that helps local families who have a child with cancer.
Malfaro, who lives in Boyertown, has a long history with Red Corner Benefit, which played a big role in his ability to bring his very first playwriting effort to life.
“House of the Rising Sun” was born out of curiosity at the end of Malfaro’s freshman year of high school. The song from which the play takes its name – a 1964 hit by The Animals – always proved popular when Malfaro performed a version of it at different events.
“My dad and I were talking about it, where it came from,” she said. “It’s a complete mystery what it is. There are a lot of different theories.”
Malfaro’s father, Shane Hails, suggested he create his own story about it in the form of a play.
“It sounded like something I would be willing to try,” she said.
She began to work, admittedly a little awkwardly at first. The main character became loosely based on herself, and the story developed from a conglomeration of various plays and books she had read.
“It was just kind of a way for me to express myself,” Malfaro said. “The further I went, the more I entered into this story that I was telling.”
Malfaro completed his play during his sophomore year. That’s when Red Corner Benefit stepped in.
She had previously performed with her band at one of the band’s benefit concerts, and when word got out that she had written a play, the organizers opened the door for her to put it on.
“They said it was okay if I was willing to try,” Malfaro said.
So Malfaro started gathering a cast and in December 2016 started rehearsing. The following June, she made her “House of the Rising Sun” debut at the Douglassville-area home of Red Corner Benefit.
“It went really well,” she said. “That opening night, it was like magic happened.”
Malfaro would go on to write a second piece, putting it on Red Corner Benefit in 2019. She also spent a lot of time polishing “House of the Rising Sun.”
“The story is still the same, but the dialogue has changed so much,” she said. “He’s grown so much.”
Malfaro said that’s what she loves about producing her own pieces. She cherishes the ability to adapt, the freedom she has to tweak.
It’s not something you can do when you buy the rights to a play someone else has written, she said.
“You can’t really change someone else’s lines,” she said. “Our cast can take certain liberties that you usually can’t take.”
Malfaro said she was excited and excited to share the latest version of her work with the public. Because really, she says, it’s a piece of her.
“It feels so real to me because these are characters I’ve grown up with since ninth grade,” she said. “They feel very real to me, it’s more than just a script. It’s really fun to see it all come to life.”
If you are going to
“House of the Rising Sun” will run from August 5-7 and August 12-13 at Red Corner Benefit, 465 Red Corner Road, Union Township. Each show starts at 8:15 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost $25 for adults and $20 for seniors.
Red Corner Benefit’s annual fundraising concert will take place on October 15th.