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Nachi Baru, playwright of “American Idyll”

April 4, 2012

Nachi Baru, Canyon Crest Academy student,  has won Playwrights Project’s California Young Playwrights Contest, not once, not twice, but three times!  While his past plays were performed as staged readings, this year’s script, American Idyll, will receive a full production.  Nachi is actively participating in the process, attending rehearsals and refining his script with dramaturgical support from Deborah Sazler.  His play, directed by Chelsea Whitmore, will run at the Lyceum Theatre April 20-29, 2012 as part of Playwrights Project’s  27th Plays by Young Writers festival. Get tickets now!

Photo by Mel Yonzon

How did you first become involved with writing?

I’ve always loved writing from a young age, and even in kindergarten wrote a number of short stories, which usually dealt with the various adventures of an assortment of anthropomorphic characters. My first exposure to playwriting, however, came when Playwrights Project did a residency at my elementary school when I was in fourth grade. That was when I wrote my first winning script, and I’ve been hooked ever since. When time allows, I also write short stories, and am a member of my school news magazine and science magazine.

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

As a high school student, I noticed that a lot of my peers were overly-involved in reality TV shows and popular culture in general, neglecting reading. I took it to an extreme by envisioning a dystopian future where fiction had disappeared completely.

What themes are involved in your piece?

One of the underlying themes in my play is the loss of imagination and creativity, and the effect it has on creating a society that follows tradition unquestioningly and is too easily distracted by trivial flashiness. There is also the idea of individual courage, and having the strength of conviction and belief to fight against imposed norms.

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

I would hope that the audience would go away with a greater realization of the importance and beauty of fiction. Along with the advent of reality TV, I think there is a growing attitude that imagination isn’t so important anymore- especially in education, where arts programs are the first to suffer when budget cuts are introduced. I hope that my play can instill greater appreciation of fiction by giving a glimpse of how boring the world would be without creativity in general.

Do you plan to continue writing?

I would like to keep writing, to hopefully become more sophisticated as I hone my skills. While I will keep writing plays, I also want to expand my horizons and write in other genres as well. All areas of writing produce different challenges, so improving my writing will probably be a life-long pursuit.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My dream would be to parlay my love of writing into a professional career. Even if I end up in another academic field, I know that I will keep finding time and outlets to write for the rest of my life.

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