Playwrights’ Work Showcased with Professional Actors

The Burlingame drama department provides classes for students to learn the art of theater and allow their talents to flourish. One unique event that was held by the advanced drama class on December 5 allowed student playwrights to write scripts of original 10-minute plays. Although the drama class often does similar creative assignments, this project allowed eight of the playwrights to have their work be brought to life on stage by professional actors. The eight chosen writers worked with the non-profit professional theater company called “Theatreworks.”

The entire class was assigned to write an original short play, and eight were chosen to be performed. All plays were read by Ms. Skelton, the BHS drama teacher, and the creative team at Theatreworks. When selecting the plays, Skelton said “we looked for good plays, and we wanted to see a range of different plays-- romances, comedies, dramas.”

Senior Maggie Johnson, one of the playwrights, used the project to address a relevant issue today: transgender identification. Her play, titled “Andrea” is about a young man living in Tennessee who needs to come to terms with the fact that he wants to transition. Johnson said, “this project was special because each production was unique to the playwright. Each of the eight students got to express themselves through the writing process, which is sometimes harder to do when you perform in productions that you are less connected with.”

The playwrights and Theatreworks actors share the stage after the plays are performed.

The playwrights and Theatreworks actors share the stage after the plays are performed.

Although the drama class does many creative projects with playwriting similar to this one, working with professional playwrights and actors added a new level of motivation to the class. Skelton observed that “the motivation to write a good piece to the point where the professional actors will perform it adds more to the class. The students had a lot of ideas that they really wanted to explore, and the theater is a really great way to do that.”

Senior playwright Taylor Navas agrees that working with Theatreworks added a new level of enthusiasm in her script that was carried throughout the two months of revising and writing. Navas said, “this project was different because we got to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to have something produced and developed by people who are in the business.”

Posted on January 2, 2017 .