Each year, middle school students from all five boroughs submit their plays to our Middle School Playwriting Competition! This year we had a record number of incredible playwrights submit their work; it was so hard to choose five for our staged reading.
Our five finalists: Emily, Madison, Nimoratul, Stella and Tula each shared their unique perspective and voice through their work and we were extremely proud to honor each of them as Regional Finalists.
Today we’re excited to bring you our young playwrights reflections on the Middle School Playwriting Competition process. Read about Emily’s Middle School Playwriting Competition journey:
My play, It’s History, was inspired by the Pixar movie Wall-e and the modern classic Fahrenheit 451. When I watched Wall-e, one part stood out to me. Not a lot of people notice it because it is only about 10 seconds long. The scene shows a robotic teacher teaching young children the alphabet. I thought about how robotic teachers could limit learning. My idea about a restricted government in a futuristic world (with robotic teachers) that does not allow people to learn about history started to form.
After coming up with this idea, I read Fahrenheit 451 as required reading for my school. This book, which has a similar idea to my play, is what inspired me to create the idea of the Inquirer Mark and to have Lincoln (the main character of my play) be similar to the main character of Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag. Guy Montag, like Lincoln, are both curious, want to learn about the world and their past.
The best part of seeing my play staged was being able to hear the dialogue. I have been working on my play for about seven months now, and I haven’t had a lot of chances to hear my play be read aloud, let alone by professional actors. The staging of my play helped me improve the dialogue. What may appear great on paper, sounded “off” when performed live. This not only helped my playwriting but my dialogue in other forms of writing as well.
The advice that I would give to other young playwrights is to read other plays! At school, I was surrounded by plays of different genres and different topics. Reading them was not only fun and entertaining, but it was also very helpful for when I was writing and revising my play. When reading other plays, try to pinpoint the exact places the playwright did well, so that you know exactly how to improve your own play.