Young Playwrights 2019

Young Playwrights Project 2019 Authors & Directors

This weekend, Gibson Southern Theatre presents the Young Playwrights Project 2019.  Each student below wrote and directed their own one-act play.  The Young Playwrights Project‘s mission is to facilitate the use of playwriting, encourage creative expression and improve literacy, and to support its writers through student driven acting, directing, and designing culminating in public performances.

The Young Playwrights Project is presented in the Gibson Southern Studio Theatre.  Performance times are 7:00PM on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, as well as 2:00PM on Sunday, April 7.  General Admission tickets (first-come-first-serve) are available for $5.00 each at the door, and seating is limited to 65 seats.

The Audition by Daxton Cieslinski

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? My name is Daxton Cieslinski, and I am a freshman.
  • What is the title of your play? The Audition
  • What is your play about? My play is about a girl named Karen who is struggling to get a good part for her schools musical.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? Before we did “Newsies” I was very nervous and scared for my audition, and I would always think of different outcomes. This play was one of them.
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? My cast consist of Lizzy Mast, Ava Bartle, Meredith Priar, Taylor Ort, Allie Townsend, Mayi Reyes, and Kendra Connor. I picked each one of these people because I felt that they are perfect for their roles and with their acting could make this play super funny.
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? No, I have not been apart of this befor,e but this year I am a director and a actor for Mayi’s How to Forgive.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? I really love directing the scenes and seeing my script come to life.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Try to write a script that you enjoy because it could turn out as a hit!
  • Do you have anything else to add? Don’t drop the class just because you don’t want to do it try once.  If it isn’t your thing, don’t do it again.

Away From Home by Hailey Anderson

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? Hailey Anderson, Senior
  • What is the title of your play? Away From Home
  • What is your play about? My play is about an amazing bond between a father(Noah) and a daughter(Ashton). When Noah gets drafted into the war, they continue to keep in touch by writing letters back and forth. One month, Ashton goes home to visit her family for her birthday, and to her surprise there’s someone very special waiting for her arrival.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? Growing up I’ve always had a really special bond with my dad. I also love watching videos of family members coming home from the army and surprising their families. So I had a thought. I would be devastated if my father had to leave, and I’m sure many families out there can agree, so here’s the final project.
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? Paige Motter, Matthew Merchant, Megan Niehaus, Olivia Shelby, Sabrina Davis, and Brady Allura. I chose each of these people because I feel like the characters I assigned them represented their personalities in a way.
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? I have been a part of YPP twice. My freshman year I was in Sam Gilles play “Alternate Reality,” and I was in Makenzie Hart’s play “Apartment C.” Even though I had smaller roles in each play, it was really fun working with everyone in the cast.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? I honestly just like watching the plays come to life. It amazes me to see someone’s imagination actually happen.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Don’t stress. I stressed a lot while writing my play, which didn’t really help the process of figuring out what I was going to write about. Also don’t think you have to have a winner the first day you start brainstorming. Take a deep breath, and I promise it’ll come to you.

How To Forgive by Mayi Reyes

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? Mayi Reyes. I’m a senior.
  • What is the title of your play? How To Forgive
  • What is your play about? My play is about a girl who wants to forgive someone who has done her wrong.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? I saw an episode of “Girl Meets World”. It was kind of sad and really deep, but I loved the message in the story.
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? Sydney England is my lead. The lead in my play has a lot of speeches. I knew she could handle it. Quite honestly, everyone who I casted is super talented and hardworking, I had had to narrow down casting to their height.
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? I have been a part of YPP two years before this year. My sophomore year I was casted in two plays and then ended up understudying last minute the day of show, and my junior year I was in one play and unstudied last minute for another play again!
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? I love that the students are in control. Our teacher really gives us full reign to direct our plays to be what we invision. I think it’s a great opportunity for us as students to practice leadership skills and follower skills.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Write what you’re passionate about and write as much as you can. Don’t think that you can’t do it. You may surprise yourself 🙂
  • Do you have anything else to add? Hope you enjoy the show!

Trapped in Detention by Paige Collins

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? My name is Paige Collins and I am in 10th grade.
  • What is the title of your play? The title of my play is Trapped in Detention.
  • What is your play about? A group of unlikely kids find themselves in detention on a Saturday morning. They soon find out that their administer is the meanest teacher in school, Mrs. Bradshaw. When they realize that they’ve been locked in their classroom, they’re suddenly on a mission to get out. Using clues around their room the group of kids escape, leaving a “sweet” surprise for Mrs. Bradshaw.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? I’ve always had a fear of detention so that really helped me while writing the play. It gave me lots of ideas to go through in my head.
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? My cast includes Fetya Fichtinger, Rylee Brittingham, Athena Bacchi, Davina Witte, Breña Watts, Colleen Schneider, and Clohe Kelly. I chose this group of students because I’ve seen their work ethic inside and outside of theater and they’re all so very talented.
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? I have been apart of YPP before. I was the lead, Ilia, in Escape The Night.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? My favorite part about YPP is that students get the opportunity to write their own ideas and have their own creative freedom.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Have fun with it! Writing your own play is super exciting so don’t get too stressed out and be creative.
  • Do you have anything else to add? Join a theater arts class!

Pineapple by Jazlynn Cates

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? Jazlynn Cates, 11th grade
  • What is the title of your play? Pineapple
  • What is your play about? A woman finds herself in a court room being convicted for a crime she has yet to know of… or does she?
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? The song “The Judge” by Twenty One Pilots gave me my inspiration
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? I chose Matthew Merchant and Megan Niehaus because they argue well with eachother, and I chose Sarah Perkins because she has the attitude and seriousness that’s perfect for her role. Patrick Noble was the perfect fit for his part when he did the cold reading, it was so obvious! Lastly, I saw a lot of potential in Tauni Titzer and I knew that a big part was maybe out of her comfort zone, but I knew she was 100% capable!
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? This is my 3rd Young Playwrights Project, and also my third time as an author. My first YPP I was also casted as Iris in “Iris’ Pupil” by Matthew Merchant.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? I love how close everyone gets over the work time and show weekend, and I love how close and connected you feel with the audience. I also love the availability for creativity and independence from our usual shows.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Nothing is ever perfect the first time! So if you’re scared that your play isn’t good enough or it’s undeserving, DON’T. Chances are that the harder you work and the more creative you get, the better it will be, even if you don’t realize it. Don’t be scared, try something new!
  • Do you have anything else to add? Very special thank you to my cast along with all of the great role models I’ve had during my theatre journey. Love you all! Break a leg to all the amazing performers in this show!

Maybe It’s Okay by Geneva Sagers

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? Geneva Sagers, Freshman
  • What is the title of your play? Maybe It’s Okay
  • What is your play about? My play is about five kids that somehow end up in a holding cell together. Everyone has a different side of the story and there is lots of arguing as they try to figure out who is to blame.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? The inspirations behind my play are the detention scene in “Lemonade Mouth” and one of the episodes of “That 70s Show.” I just really like those stories where a group of very different people are thrown into a situation and end up becoming friends.
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? My cast is Colleen Schneider, Breña Watts, Madeline Douglas, Riley Brittingham, Kaitlyn Gentry, Clohe Kelly, Davina Witte, Xander Greene, Aubrey McCoy, and Shela Harker. I knew that Colleen and Breña would do well with goody-two-shoes type of characters, Madeline loves sarcasm, which her character has quite a lot of, and Clohe, who plays Colleen’s mother, has such a “mom personality.”
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? Sort of? I was an extra in the 2014 Young Playwrights production “Cow Play: the Moosical”, but this is my first since I’ve been in high school.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? My favorite part about YPP is that students get to showcase their talents in a serious setting. This isn’t some backyard puppet show you put on for your parents. We get to write our own plays for something real; a professional environment where people are actually expecting something.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? My advice to future playwrights would be to make sure the play is how you want it to be. It’s your own play, you shouldn’t be cringing at lines!
  • Do you have anything else to add? I’m really excited for YPP and I can’t wait to see everyone else’s plays!

The Last Letter by Lexi Walker

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? My name is Lexi Walker. I’m in 10th grade.
  • What is the title of your play? The Last Letter
  • What is your play about? My play is about a couple that meets in college and falls in love with each other. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor, the husband is drafted and goes to fight in World War II.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? I didn’t really have an inspiration. I just started brainstorming and the idea just came out.
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? I have five cast members in my play. Maddie O’Neal, Kyler Gammon, Brady Allara, Tauni Titzer, and River Epperson. I choose them, because I felt they would best fit these roles.
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? I was an actress last year in Escape the Night.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? I love seeing the stories that the students write.
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Write what you think is good, and not what you think other people want you to write.
  • Do you have anything else to add? This is such a fun and amazing experience that everyone should consider being a part of.

The Manly Games by Hunter Sampson

  • What is your name, and what is your grade? My name is Hunter Sampson and I’m in 10th grade.
  • What is the title of your play? The Manly Games
  • What is your play about? It is about a group competing in the games, but it’s a bit unfair. Princess Goob is famous for never losing a game, but Po finds out that she has been bribing the Announcers.
  • What was the inspiration behind your play? A Spongebob episode
  • Who is in your cast, and why did you choose them? I chose Brianna, Makayla, and Kenzy because I didn’t know them and I like to meet new people. I chose Sara and Shela because they’re my friends. I chose Kaitlyn, Athena, and Fetia because they’re hard workers.
  • Have you been apart of YPP before? If so, what did you do? I was apart of Jazz’s play last year, and it was so much fun.
  • What is your favorite part about YPP? Making good memories!
  • Do you have any advice for future playwrights? Don’t be scared to enter your play, it may be nerve racking at first, but you’ll love it.
  • Do you have anything else to add? PIGS ARE FRIENDS, NOT FOOD!!! =)
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