Interview with Shyla de Hoop, writer of “Have Hope” for Plays by Young Writers

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

 

shyla de hoop
(Photo by Geri Goodale)

Have Hope

By Shyla de Hoop

Age 11, Rolando

Directed by George Ye

thisthatlowres-7
Production still from Shyla’s play “Have Hope” (Photo by Ken Jacques)

How did you first get involved with writing?

My teacher told us that we were going to write a play in class, and I thought it was exciting.

 

How did you come up with the idea for your script?

My cat died around the time my teacher announced that we were going to write a play.

IMG_9170.JPG
Shyla with her dramaturg Aleta Barthell (left) and Director George Ye (right)

What themes are involved in your piece?

Strong family love, and wanting someone to fill the void in your heart.

 

What is the message you hope the audience takes away with them?

Love your family because they will not always be there.

 

Do you plan to continue writing?

Yes! I plan to keep writing in the future.

img_9167
Shyla reviewing and making edits to her play with dramaturg, Aleta

What do you want to be when you grow up, and why?

An actor or veterinarian. I like to act because it’s fun. I would like to be a veterinarian because I love animals and I can’t stand to see them hurting or in pain.

 

What advice would you give to a peer as they embark on writing their first play?

Make it emotional, because more people will connect to it and like it.

 

You wrote Have Hope during a Playwrights Project residency at CPMA. Can you tell us how your teaching artist and classroom teacher supported you in the play’s development?

Ms. Arnold told us to raise the stakes and make them really, really high. So I chose to make my play a matter of life and death. I did most of the writing on my own at home, where there weren’t distractions. I also like to write late at night.

040_pp_on_2019_p
Shyla and her mom on Opening Night of Plays by Young Writers (Photo by Geri Goodale)

What was it like to see your play acted out in your classroom?

It was embarrassing because my play was the first one to be read. After the reading, I wanted to go in and fix my grammar and spelling. I also wanted to fix a moment where the cats were hiding behind some trash cans.

 

Overall what was the most important thing you learned about writing a play?

Write, and don’t overthink it too much. Write what you feel, you can fix it later!

056_pp_lu_2018_p
Shyla with her Playwrights Project Teaching Artist, Aurrora Arnold

What has been a memorable moment from your revision process, whether it be within the classroom or working with your dramaturg Aleta Barthell?

The table reading with the actors was memorable because it was the first time my mom had heard it and she loved it. My whole family loved it.

postcard front pbyw fy19

Visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/ for more information about Plays by Young Writers. 

Interview with Chris Johnson and Marco Herrera, writers of “Just Let Me Help”

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

marco herrera and chris johnson
Marco Herrera and Chris Johnson (Photo by Geri Goodale of Reminisce Photography)

Just Let Me Help

By Chris Johnson and Marco Herrera

Ages 14, Imperial Beach

Directed by Ruff Yeager

 

How did you first get involved with writing?

Chris: When I was little I always liked to make short stories, so when our theater class final came up, it was a perfect opportunity to express my creativity.

Marco: This play was actually the first time I’ve ever written a play. I’ve only ever written essays and school reports before this. I have thought up of stories but I was never as motivated to actually put work into them before because I never thought they would result in anything. When we first got our class assignment in which we would write this play, I was very passionate about this story.  I’m very proud of how everything turned out.

How did you come up with the idea for your script?

Chris: The main idea of the play was mostly created by my partner Marco. I came up with additional ideas when he was stuck.

Marco: Chris and I were brainstorming about why the characters would stay inside of a car for the whole script, and I remembered times where I’d sleep in the car when my dad took me on camping trips. Since we wanted to keep the camping idea but needed an excuse as to why they weren’t in a tent, we decided that they couldn’t afford one.

img_9239
Chris and Marco work to revise their script

What themes are involved in your piece?

Marco: Family, to be supportive of each other, and to appreciate what family does for each other.

Chris: Our play shows the important of not taking your family for granted, not letting your past affect your future, and not wasting time on small things.

What is the message you hope the audience takes away with them?

Marco: I hope they see how much they care about each other and that hopefully some people in the audience have a similar sort of bond.

Chris: The message that I want the audience to take away is that family is family; you should cherish the moments you have with them.

img_9175
Chris and Marco were featured on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego!

Do you plan to continue writing?

Marco: I do plan to keep writing. This has been a very fun experience and I now feel a lot more confident in my writing. I have had a few ideas on new stories that I would like to work on. I’d also like to see how well I do writing without a partner at some point.

Chris: If our play is ever popular enough I might consider talking to Marco about writing a sequel.

What do you want to be when you grow up, and why?

Marco: I’ve always wanted to be something in law- a District Attorney specifically. My mom works down at the Hall of Justice and when I was little I would go there with her a lot. I got to talk with her bosses a few times and they inspired me to work there.

Chris: I want to be a first responder (Firefighter or EMT) because I have always liked helping people.

017_pp_on_2019_p
Marco and Chris on Opening Night of Plays by Young Writers (Photo by Geri Goodale of Reminisce Photography)

What advice would you give to a peer as they embark on writing their first play?

Marco: My advice would be to write a story that you are really passionate about. You have to love it, because if you love it then there should be no problem making it into something amazing, even if you don’t believe in your writing capabilities. Write as much as you want, but keep page limits in mind.

Chris: Don’t hold back your thoughts when you’re writing.

playwrilowres-7
Production still from Chris and Marco’s play, “Just Let Me Help” (Photo by Ken Jacques)

The two of you actually performed your script several times at school. Can you share what that experience was like?

Chris: It was a cool and scary experiment because the thought of messing up was always in the back of my mind. One time I skipped a big section of the play, but Marco and I were able to work past it. Afterwards the parents that watched us said that our play was one of the best.

Marco: The Car Plays performance was pretty fun. Chris and I would take our positions in the car, wait for people to get in and then perform our play. We performed our play about 7 times that night. It was pretty strange since most of the audience was either our parents or friends. It was still very fun and it let us get to know our own script better.

Can you describe a few memorable moments from your revision process, what strengths have each of you contributed?

Chris: My favorite part of the writing process was creating the jokes. After we wrote the play, the lines were engraved into our minds, so when someone would say a certain word it would remind us of a line in the play. While initially writing the play I typed the majority of the script, condensed some of the ideas and, most importantly prevented Marco from going over the 10 page limit.

Marco: The revision process was pretty fun. The feedback we got on our script was very helpful and helped to fix it up. I was usually the one that came up with new ideas on how to make the script better, and Chris usually would be the one who judged whether my idea was good or horrible and he would write the changes in a way that made sense.

img_9264
Chris and Marco chat with their dramaturg, Mabelle

You co-wrote your script during a class project at Bayfront Charter High School. What was it like writing a play with a partner?

Chris: Writing with a partner makes it easier to come up with ideas, but then we wouldn’t always agree on some of them.

Marco: Working with a partner made this a million times easier. Chris was able to take my ideas and write them out in ways that actually made sense and came up with the perfect ideas when I got stuck. He also kept the story from being a bajillion pages, telling me where to stop and what should be cut. Working with a friend on this made it really fun.

Want to see Chris and Marco’s writing for yourself? Visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/ for more information and to reserve tickets to Plays by Young Writers. 

Interview with George Yé, Director of Plays by Young Writers’ Program B

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

Program B Director and Sea of Fog Dramaturg George Yé  is Chair of Drama at San Diego Mesa College, a fight choreographer, and member of AEA. Previous Plays by Young Writers productions include: Idiot I’m Great, Fire Hazard, Hackathon, The Supermarket of Lost, The Acquittal, The Tangible Tollbooth, Crown Prince Crazy, Coffee Cream, and Closure, Fairy Tale, 39-40.

img_9178
George and playwright Jack Ventimilia observe rehearsals for Sea of Fog

Tell us briefly about another theatre project (or projects) you’re working on outside of Plays by Young Writers.

Aside from working with Playwrights Project I am currently the Chair of the Dramatic Arts Program at San Diego Mesa College.  I’m working with the students on a devised theatre project exploring race, stereotypes, nationalism, and boarder issues.

 

How does your work in the festival differ from your other work?

There are more similarities actually, but I’d say that having the chance to work with professional designers mentor inspired driven young playwrights is perhaps the most unique aspect of working on the festival.

img_8721
George advises Sea of Fog actors

How do you define your roles in the Plays by Young Writers production process?

First and foremost as a mentor to the playwright. Initially, I work as a dramaturg listening to the playwright and helping them articulate clearly what it is they want to say with their play.  Once we move into production mode, I become a director.  This involves generating a vision for the play and collaborating with designers and actors all the while maintaining a space for the playwright’s voice as well.

 

What is your favorite part about being involved with Plays by Young Writers?

I love getting the chance to work with new and talented playwrights.  This inspires me.

 

george ye
George speaks to past PBYW winning playwrights to prepare and inspire them for their revision process

What do you hope the young playwrights will learn from this experience?

I hope they all enjoy the experience and are left with a positive impression about the playwrighting process.  There’s no doubt having your own play produced can be exhilarating as well as stressful.  It is my hopes that those young artists who have been selected for the Plays by Young Writers Festival continue to find inspiration through playwrighting and theatre making.

 

Can you share with us any details about your vision for the plays?

Sea of Fog challenges us to  think about the place of faith in our lives and how it can be a bridge or barrier to friendship.  Mother’s Mother examines the power of love between mothers and daughters and how change in relationships is inevitable.

 

You’ve been a director in Plays by Young Writers for many productions. In what ways does the Festival differ from year to year? How has the Festival grown?

Each year the festival continues to be produced with professionalism.  This is largely due to Executive Director Cecelia Kouma, Festival Artistic Director Ruff Yeager, the designers, and the entire Playwrights Project staff.

img_8895
The creative team consults with playwright Naomi Melville during PBYW auditions

In Sea of Fog two outsiders struggle to understand religion in a modern world. What is your approach on addressing such a personal topic?

Character. After some conversations with Jack Ventimilia I have learned that a detailed outline of each character’s background is important to play. I also feel very lucky to be working with some brave actors who dived into the rehearsal process with a delicate sensitivity to the material.

Program B of Plays by Young Writers runs Friday Jan. 25th at 7:30 PM and Saturday Jan. 26th at 2:00 PM.

For more information and to reserve tickets online, visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/

Interview with Plays by Young Writers Costume Designer, Jordyn Smiley

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

Costume Designer Jordyn Smiley teaches Fashion and Costume at San Diego Mesa College. She has built costumes for The Old Globe, McCarter Theatre, Two River Theater, and Disney Imagineering. Previous costume designs include Romeo, Romeo & Juliet, 2017 and 2018 Plays by Young Writers, The Jungle Book, Crimes of the Heart, Assassins, Glorious Ones, and All Shook Up.

jordyn wruffs gift
Jordyn on the Opening Night of 2018’s Plays by Young Writers Festival

What’s your vision for this year’s plays?

My vision for this year’s plays is to create characters that help tell the playwright’s stories.  I want to be true to the playwrights’ intents, and allow the costumes to accentuate their idea of who each character is.

Describe a few images that come to mind when you’re conceptualizing the costumes for this year’s plays. 

For Trash, I envisioned a junk drawer of sorts. A place where we tend to put the odds and ends in our life that we forget about.  The half-finished post-it notes, the old charging cables, an old chapstick, or a plastic toy from the dollar store.  For Sea of Fog, I found that I kept coming back to an image of a dark courtyard with a layer of mist on the ground.  None of these images are very costume-related, but to me they all conveyed a core reaction that I wanted the audience to feel when they saw the characters on stage.

concept-rusty
Jordyn’s design concept for the character of Rusty

What questions did you ask about the characters as you started to visualize them?

I started with the typical character questions such as how old they were, what season is it, where is the action taking place, etc.  Then I went further into each character and asked what do they want in the play, what kind of a life have they had until now, what type of message do they want to send, etc.  I had a lot of fun visualizing the characters for Trash.  Since most of the characters are inanimate objects, I had to think about not only what type of personality each character had but also what elements of the objects could help represent that personality.  For example, Rusty, who is a piece of rusted metal, is very bitter and doesn’t believe there is any hope in getting out of his current situation due to his past experiences. I started to visualize a costume that had sections of banged up metal plates, similar to armor in a way.  Rusty uses sarcasm and anger as his armor to protect him from what he perceives as a hopeless world.  He has been hurt in the past and has emotional battle scars, which are symbolized in the dents and dings of his “armor”.

What do you hope the young playwrights will learn from this experience?

I hope the playwrights will learn just what goes into putting together a realized production, and what a creative, collaborative process it can be.  Most of all, I hope they think that it was a rewarding experience and feel encouraged to continue to create theatre!

Come see Jordyn’s costume designs come to life during Plays by Young Writers!

postcard front pbyw fy19

For more information and to reserve tickets online, visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/

Interview with Thomas Hodges, Composition Mentor for Trash! The Musical and former Plays by Young Writers playwright

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

Thomas Hodges is a New York based composer from sunny San Diego. His newest musical Sonata 1962 with collaborator Patricia Loughrey was part of the 2018 New York Musical Festival and received three awards including “Outstanding Musical Arrangements and Orchestrations”.  In 2015 his music song cycle The Things We Never Say won “Outstanding Original Score” at the San Diego Fringe Festival.  The production was done by Breakthrough Workshop Theatre and a cast album is available on iTunes and Spotify.  His score for Patricia Loughrey’s Dear Harvey is available from Playscripts. Other projects of his include Dorian an adaptation of The Picture of Dorian GrayUnderground (book by John Viscardi) a new musical about street kids living in the NYC subway tunnels, and various solo albums available on iTunes and Spotify.

1797502-10206137735779585-1346902711812399009-n_orig
Photo credit: Karli Cadel

Please tell me about work in theatre outside of this festival and how your work in Plays by Young Writers differs from your other work.

I am a composer and music director working in New York City. My newest musical with playwright Patricia Loughrey, Sonata 1962, was part of the 2018 New York Musical Festival and is being workshopped now. I also play cabaret’s and auditions around the city.

Can you share with us any details about your vision for the musical?

My “vision” is just in full support of Naomi and the creative process.

110_pp_lu_2018_p
Thomas virtually congratulates this year’s winning playwrights at Lights Up! Playwrights Take the Stage

What caught your attention most when you first read the script?

I loved the music! Naomi is an excellent songwriter and the songs are catchy and clever. The characters coming alive in the way they do resonated with me as a writer and exemplified some of the frustration that I too face while writing a new story.

Can you elaborate on your role as Composition Mentor to Naomi and describe the mentorship process? 

My role was to be there for any questions Naomi had in forming the score for the Music Director and cast. There is a lot that goes into formatting a score and making the music readable. Naomi would send me songs through a notation program called Finale and I would edit the keys, format the pages, create audio files, and give suggestions in order for her to achieve the sound she had envisioned.

thmoas hodges 2
Thomas at age 17, when his play Stage Directions was produced during Plays by Young Writers

As a past winning playwright, how did your experience with PBYW shape your journey as a professional theater maker?

When my play Stage Directions was produced and I worked with Ruff on its development at the age of seventeen, it was my first time bringing other people into the creative process, which is scary and so necessary. Then to go from receiving and giving creative input into production- it was magical. I think it made me a writer for life. I’ll never forget that experience and how it shaped me.

Trash! The Musical can be seen during Program A of Plays by Young Writers, on  Saturday Jan. 26th at 7:30 PM.

For more information, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or write@playwrightsproject.org.

Visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/

 

Interview with Sea of Fog’s Jack Ventimilia, winner of California Young Playwrights Contest 2018

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

Jack Ventimilia.jpg

Sea of Fog

By Jack Ventimilia

Age 16, Studio City

Directed by George Yé

Jack wrote his play while attending Bridges Academy, where he discovered his love of drama. His interests outside of playwriting include playing the piano, attempting to make good vegan food, and singing show tunes loudly in his garage.

How did you first get involved with writing?

I first got involved in writing at the Young Actors Studio in North Hollywood. I  had written some things before, but once I started have my pieces read, the studio helped me cultivate my skill.. My teacher Andrew Shaffers actually recommended that I enter in the California Young Playwrights Contest.

How did you come up with the idea for your script?

Last spring, I took a trip out to New York and was inspired by the Cloisters Museum. The gothic architecture and religious exhibits and artwork inspired me to write a play with a similar setting. It made me ponder not only what religion gives to people, but what it can take away. It drove me to develop a character who’s been through so much isolation, and finds solace in religion, however, she becomes more polarizing because of the rules she follows.

What themes are involved in your piece?

I would say the themes at the forefront of the piece are: religion, friendship, and youth.

What is the message you hope the audience takes away with them?

I hope that the audience can walk away from the piece pondering how much being a teenager sucks. That beauty can be found in a relationship, even between two broken people. And how helpful and comforting, albeit polarizing, religious beliefs can be.

img_9173_crop
Jack observes a rehearsal of his play.

Do you plan to continue writing?

I absolutely want to continue writing, I always feel like there’s something I can improve in my writing and that really keeps me going. Lately I have considered myself more of an actor, but I’ve found that playwriting and acting go hand in hand and really benefit each other.

What are your career goals and/or aspirations?

At this point in my life I’m not quite sure. I’m definitely going to continue playwriting and acting, and I think that it’s something that I’m going to want to pursue in college. All I know is that I really love writing and acting. It’s therapeutic, and it never bores me. If I can do that and make a living, that sounds like a great future.

What advice would you give to a peer as they embark on writing their first play?

You can’t judge it. You need to totally just allow yourself to put stream of consciousness onto the page. Let it be personal, have fun, explore- you have all the time in the world to change and judge it later. The best writing, in my opinion, is when you just let it all out on the page.

Are you currently working to develop any other plays?

Yes, I’m working on a couple. My favorite play I’m working on right now is one titled Rink Penguin. It’s about a young adult named Jay who never really grew up. He works at the roller rink as the mascot Rinky, a cool and hip cartoon penguin, who’s actually quite crass and sarcastic. Jay doesn’t really connect with the other workers, even though he’s worked there the longest. Through the course of my play, the line between Jay and roller rink mascot Rinky fades.

The topic of religion is very personal, what challenges are presented in exploring such sensitive subject matter?

The challenge I faced was how to create this character who’s devoutly religious and a little antagonistic. However, I want it to be clear she’s not antagonistic because of religion; it’s helped her quite a bit. This is something I struggled with making clear.

img_8710
Actors Daniel Woods and Jalani Blankenship rehearse Sea of Fog.

Can you share with us any break-throughs or special moments you experienced during the revision process?

The biggest inspiration or break through for me was putting these characters in a place that inspires me.

Sea of Fog can be seen during Program B of Plays by Young Writers, on Friday Jan. 25th at 7:30 PM and Saturday Jan. 26th at 2:00 PM.

For more information, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or write@playwrightsproject.org.

Visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/. 

*Photo courtesy of Geri Goodale of Reminisce Photography.

Interview with Emma Kuli, winner of California Young Playwrights Contest 2018

Playwrights Project will produce its 34th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre in the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center at The Old Globe on January 10 – 12 & 22 – 26, 2019. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 415 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

011_pp_lu_2018_p.jpg

A Mother’s Mother

By Emma Kuli

Age 18, Villa Park

Directed by George Yé

Emma wrote her play while attending Orange County School of the Arts. While at OSCA, Emma took part in the Creative Writing Conservatory and wrote for the 24 Hour ScareFest and the school’s annual PlayFest. She’s volunteered at Casa Teresa and was involved with the Villa Park chapter of the National Charity League.  Emma is now a freshman at Santa Clara University.

How did you first get involved with writing?

When I was in third grade, I finished a worksheet about the phases of the moon early and I flipped it over and wrote my first poem (about the moon, of course) on the back.  Later that week, I brought my poem on a trip to my Aunt Dorothy’s house in San Diego. She read it and she smiled so big and told me I was a poet.  She had the poem framed as a surprise for me.  It still hangs over my bed, reminding me that Aunt Dorothy and the moon are smiling down on me.

You mentioned that your play was inspired by volunteer work you completed with Casa Teresa, an organization that provides support to single mothers. Can you share how your real-life experiences inspired your play? 

Volunteering at Casa Teresa I was able to watch the love blossom between so many different moms and their babies.  The moms I was lucky enough to work with were connected by the challenges they’d pushed themselves to overcome with raw motherly love.

How did you come up with the idea for your script?

The beautiful baby in my arms smiled up at me, laughed a jingle bell baby laugh, and spit up all over me. I thought of my script when I was covered in spit up. I was, in this moment, reminded how tricky it is to care for a baby.  Laughing, I wiped the spit up off my face and chest and arms and I looked around. I saw strong women who’s lives were changed (for the better, but changed nonetheless) by tiny new members to their family.  I thought about all the changes you go through becoming a mother and I wanted to do something with that.

What themes are involved in your piece?

At its core, A Mother’s Mother is the moment when a daughter becomes a mother.  As her role in the world shifts, so do the politics of her relationship with her mother.

What is the message you hope the audience takes away with them?

I hope the audience is inspired by Billie’s story.  My main message is that the relationship between a mother and daughter is special.  My play shows how relationships are as messy and dynamic as we are. I hope the audience walks out of the theater thinking about the relationships in their lives on new terms.

030_PP_LU_2018_P.jpg
Emma and her family at Lights Up!

Do you plan to continue writing?

I’m always scribbling ideas on napkins and wildly typing out my midnight burst of inspiration before bed.  If I’m in the shower or waiting for an Uber or folding laundry I’m probably thinking up a story. I don’t think I could stop writing if I tried.

What are your career goals and/or aspirations?

I hope to become a teacher.  I really enjoy working with kids. I would love knowing I was inspiring the next generation like my teachers inspired me, and I could write in my vacation time!

What advice would you give to a peer as they embark on writing their first play?

The best writing inspiration is right outside your door.  Listen to people talk. Listen to what they say. Listen to what they don’t say.

Are you currently working to develop any other plays?

Yes! I’m always running with ideas and seeing if they go anywhere.  I’ve been playing around with a few ideas recently!  (Picnics, Manipulation, Bread)

035_PP_LU_2018_P
Emma with her dramaturg, Playwrights Project Founder Deborah Salzer (left), and Executive Director Cecelia Kouma.

One of the major areas of revision was to change the setting of your play. What did you discover about your characters by revealing them in a new setting?

In setting Willa and Billie in a nursery, I was able to see how the two would build a home for the new members of the family. Whereas the previous setting, a restaurant, forced the characters to confront the public realm. Setting the soon to be mom and grandmother in the place where the new babies will grow up forced them to face their future, their new definition of home.

The dynamic between Billie and Willa is authentic and engaging, do you have any tips for writing realistic dialogue?

In any revision I make to my plays, I always make large cuts to dialogue.  The majority of real conversation lies beneath what is actually said.

Please share with a few insights into your play’s development process — how do you approach edits? What have you learned so far?

I always read my play out loud when I’m making edits. When I hear the words read out loud, I can better picture how they might sound like something I would actually hear while walking down the street.

A Mother’s Mother can be seen during Program B of Plays by Young Writers, on Friday Jan. 25th at 7:30 PM and Saturday Jan. 26th at 2:00 PM.

For more information, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or write@playwrightsproject.org.

Visit http://www.playwrightsproject.org/productions/pbyw/. 

*Photo courtesy of Geri Goodale of Reminisce Photography.