2016 Scenesters, No. 10: Jacob Kendrick

Today at the DCPA NewsCenter, we conclude our exciting daily countdown of the 10  student playwrights who have been named semifinalists for our third annual statewide playwriting competition. (Details below.)

Jacob 340 2Scenesters No. 10: Jacob Kendrick

School: Peak to Peak Charter School

Teacher: Kristie Letter

Play title: Mahdi

What is your play about? My play follows a group of 10 Syrian nationals as they flee to Lebanon and eventually Europe to escape the ongoing violence in Syria. Along the way, they experience a catastrophic car crash, a heated religious debate that turns violent and threats from a vigilante border guard.

Favorite word that appears in your script: “Inshallah.”

Excerpt from your play: MOHAMMAD: “Look around! Our country is ravaged by war and here we are, three families with three children, fleeing our birthplace just to escape death. I haven’t felt safe or happy, and I’m willing to bet you all haven’t either. So you believe in Him? How?”

Who was your inspiration for writing your play? It stemmed simply from listening to NPR in the morning and being shocked to hear about all the Syrian refugees who have lost their lives trying to escape their own country. Though perhaps somewhat fantastical, my play was written with the intention of breathing life into those death-toll numbers and illuminating the trauma of undergoing such a crossing.

Killer casting: Perhaps surprisingly, I would cast Anne Hathaway to portray the character Shayma, the loving and resilient mother of two. On top of having the potential to appear Middle Eastern, I feel Hathaway would brilliantly capture Shayma’s intricate emotions while simultaneously portraying her strength and vitality throughout the journey.

What did you learn from writing this play? In writing my play, I was able to better familiarize myself with the ongoing Syrian civil war that has displaced all of these refugees, and learn about the overall demographic makeup and stories of some of those who were displaced. I also learned how difficult it is to write a fictional story that is centered around current events because it was difficult to be realistic and capture all the intricacies of such a complex issue in a short play.


Our complete countdown of 2016 semifinalists:
No. 1: Jafei Pollitt, Denver School of the Arts
No. 2: Jessica Wood, Denver Christian High School
No. 3: Kristine Guo, Peak to Peak Charter School
No. 4: Gabrielle Moore, D’Evelyn High School
No. 5: Ashley Wright and Amelia Middlebrooks, Valor Christian High School
No. 6: Kalina Gallardo, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
No. 7: Kiera Eriksen-McAuliffe, Denver School of the Arts
No. 8: Stephanie Kiel and Mady McGraw, Chatfield Senior High School
No. 9: Kendra R. Knapp, Valor Christian High School
No. 10: Jacob Kendrick, Peak to Peak Charter School

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About the Denver Center’s 2016 Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition:

What: A one-act playwriting competition designed for area high schools. Local playwrights and DCPA Education staff members taught 145 playwriting workshops in 60 Colorado high schools. More than 3,110 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 18 counties, including Alamosa, LaPlata, Montezuma, Ouray and Weld.  

Why: To nurture Colorado’s young playwrights; develop theatre artists and audiences; develop new plays; and advance literacy, creativity, writing and communication through playwriting.

How: A total of 212 submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals. That represents a 34 percent growth in submissions from 2014. Ten semifinalists are being identified through this rolling daily countdown. At the end of the countdown, three winners will be named. They will receive a cash scholarship of $250 each AND a staged reading in the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit next month. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play also will be presented as a fully staged performance exercise for DCPA Education students in the summer of 2016.

These back-to-back videos begin with the three teen play readings at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit through the full staging of the winning play last summer.

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