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Gilare Zada, playwright of Help! There’s a Stranger Living Upstairs!

November 13, 2012

Meet Gilare Zada, age 11, the youngest playwright in our 28th season of Plays by Young Writers, which premieres winning scripts from the California Young Playwrights Contest.  Preparation for this year’s festival is well underway by Playwrights Project’s production team and the six winners of the Contest.  Gilare has been working feverishly with her dramaturge and director, Erika Phillips, on Help! There’s a Stranger Living Upstairs! — the script that earned Gilare a staged reading in the festival.  Gilare created the play in a playwriting residency at Mesa Verde Middle School, taught by Playwrights Project’s Founder Deborah Salzer.

Help! There’s a Stranger Living Upstairs!

Two weeks before her 11th birthday, Scarlett’s parents announce they’re getting a divorce, and Scarlett is forced to move to the farm with her mother.  A year later, just as Scarlett’s 12th birthday is approaching, her mother explains that Scarlett must move out of her room, so it can be sublet to a mysterious stranger.  Could life be any more unfair?

Plays by Young Writers will take place at the Lyceum Theatre, February 1-9, 2013. For more information and to get tickets visit the Lyceum Theatre’s website.

Gilare Zada’s – Backstage Diary Entry Nov. 13, 2012

How did you first get involved with writing?

I’ve always loved to read, ever since I could barely walk, and I enjoyed writing short stories with my mom and dad while playing “school.”

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

Ever since I got involved with writing, my short stories actually shared the same plot with the script.  When I got the chance to convert it to a play, I was very excited.  Also, I wanted to create a conflict that many kids my age could relate to.

What themes are involved in your piece?

The main themes are optimism, gratitude, and family.

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

I would like the audience to interpret a couple of things: Be grateful for who you are and what you have, always look at the cup half full, never judge a book by its cover, and my favorite, never give up on family, because even though the things they do may seem slightly irritating, they love you unconditionally.

Do you plan to continue writing?

Writing will definitely be a big part of my future – I highly doubt that I would ever stop.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I can definitely see myself as a journalist, author, or physician.  I would choose writing as one of my side jobs though.


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