Professional actors perform student-written plays

November 11, 2010 — by Anika Jhalani

Fresh off performances of the fall play “Our Town” and the student production “Woman in Black,” students in the drama department are now showing off their talent for play writing.

From the middle of September until early November, the drama students participated in a workshop held by the Mountain View Theatre Company. By the end of the workshop the students managed to have professional actors sign to perform their original scripts. The seven playwright’s whose works were chosen were juniors Ariella Yendler, Penny Burgess, Joshua Harris, sophomores Pavi Sadras, Chris Zhao, Laura Hannibal and senior Mikaela Burton.

These plays spanned from psychological thrillers to family comedies. Yendler’s piece about a young boy’s memories after finding the body of his suicidal mother highlights the creativity involved with producing the plays, all around 10 to 15 minutes long.

“What’s interesting about the workshop is that we are able to go all out,” said Yendler. “None of us had to hold back with what we wanted to write, or perform, and we were rewarded with the number of plays we had signed to be performed by such talented professionals.”

Although not the first year of trying the workshop, this year has been the first that professionals have decided to perform the plays. On Nov. 3, all the drama classes headed to the Mountain View Theatre to see their productions.

Burgess seconds Yendler’s opinion of the freedom the playwrights can enjoy while writing their plays.

“It is great to be able to work with professionals and have them agree to perform our plays,” said Burgess. “Some of us are aspiring to be future playwrights ourselves, and it’s great to meet and spend a day with people who are representing our future.”

Drama teacher Kerry Mohnike said she is proud of the work the students put in to their plays.

“Each of the seven plays performed were brilliantly done,” she said.

Although the second workshop, this is the first year that the student-written plays have been chosen to be performed, she said.

The theatre workshop was a six-week program in which students practiced their play-writing abilities. A professional playwright from Theatre Works, Jake Arky, came to train each of the drama classes about the art of play writing.

“We had a huge number of plays that ended up being performed,” said Mohnike. “Each was great in its own way. Play writing is a whole new experience. It was an awesome way for students to learn both sides of the art. ”

Two of the plays were also recorded in the new multimedia facility and Mohnike plans to showcase them.

“The entire experience was really cool,” said Yendler. “We improved a lot this year, and many of us discovered a new passion in play writing.”

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