2019 Scenesters

DCPA Education names three student plays to be featured at Summit

2019 Scenesters

The three winning scripts will be presented at next month’s Colorado New Play Summit

Denver Center Education has announced the three winning plays for its sixth annual statewide Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition. The following plays will be presented together as a featured free event at next month’s  2019 Colorado New Play Summit:

  • The 12:30 Train by Sophie Greenway, Estes Park High School
  • Después de la lluvia (After the Rain) by Katanu Mwendwa, DSST: Conservatory Green High School
  • Swiped Off Your Feet by Molly Karst (M.Rae K.), Colorado Academy

After a week of in-house workshopping at the Denver Center with trained actors, and mentorship from both DCPA Teaching Artists and a professional playwright, the three winning plays will be read at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 23, in The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre. The winning playwrights each will receive a $250 cash scholarship and complimentary passes to the Summit. One new feature this year: The three winning scripts each will have additional readings at their playwrights’ own schools on Monday, February 25.

In addition, each winner’s sponsoring teacher will receive a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms.

The Scenesters: The full list of 2018-19 playwriting finalists

This year’s competition year drew a record 181 one-act plays for consideration – an 18 percent jump from last year. DCPA Teaching Artists conducted 170 playwriting workshops in 40 schools within 21 counties statewide. This year’s workshops introduced 3,277 students to the craft of playwriting, and ended with encouragement for them to submit their own short plays.

“We launched the one-act playwriting competition in 2013 to nurture Colorado’s young playwrights, create new plays and inspire creativity,” said Allison Watrous, the DCPA’s Executive Director of Education. “In just six years, we’ve been thrilled with the response: 911 submissions and nearly 17,000 students served through the program, giving voice to the next generation of American theatre.”

The coordinator of the DCPA’s student playwriting program is 2017 True West Award winner Claudia Carson.

The chosen plays and playwrights at a glance:

Sophie Greenway Scenesters 2019Sophie Greenway, Estes Park High School

  • Class: Senior
  • Teacher: Andrew Virdin
  • Play Title: The 12:30 Train
  • Killer dialogue:

ESME: I already told you that we have no idea what this could do to the future! We can’t jeopardize it like that! Don’t you want a world to go back to?

HENRY: I don’t even know what the world looks like, Esme! I’d go back to a cinder-block cell and 25-to-life. I don’t care what changes, I won’t let this happen again. I’ve got nothing to lose.

  • What did you learn from writing this play? I’ve never written a play before, though I’ve performed in my fair share. All of my writing was confined to stories I have never shared with anyone. Writing this play allowed me to be vulnerable with my writing in the same way I was on stage. Putting something that you’ve poured yourself into is extremely scary. This play showed me that taking risks with creative projects is extremely important to growing as an artist.

Scenesters 2019Katanu Mwendwa, DSST: Conservatory Green High School

  • Class: Sophomore
  • Teacher: Meriwether Joyner
  • Play title: Después de la lluvia (After the Rain)
  • Killer dialogue:

JUNIPER: “It’s Rafael. He won’t wake up.”

  • What did you learn from writing this play? I learned a lot about Puerto Rican culture and how the inhabitants of the island were affected by Hurricane Maria. I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to balance everything that happened in Puerto Rico recently with the culture and the way the characters interacted with each other, which was a challenge. Ultimately, it was a fun play to write, and it was fun to learn so much about Puerto Rican life.

Molly Karst Scenesters 2019Molly Karst, Colorado Academy

  • Pen name: M. Rae K.
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Teacher: Maclain Looper
  • Play title: Swiped Off Your Feet
  • Killer dialogue:

CONZO: Are you saying you’d rather have us be in some impossible, soul-shattering situation as star-crossed lovers than automatically fulfilled?


CONZO: Why?!?!?!

  • What did you learn from writing this play? Immersing myself in the world and drama of Conzo and Romea was rewarding, refreshing and all-consuming in the most fulfilling sense of the word. Hunkering down at Backstage Coffee and strictly allotting hours and chai lattes to explore their lives transformed my days into ones entirely occupied by writing, but ultimately days dedicated to artistry and creation. When I typed ‘END OF PLAY,’ I felt I had spent time doing something worthwhile and, above all, enjoyable. And of course, I had effectively educated myself about both the dangers and merits of Tinder (but mostly dangers) without creating an underage profile.

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Online video bonus: A look back at the 2017-18 Scenesters

In the video above, DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore speaks with Executive Director of Education Allison Watrous and the student playwrights whose works were selected to be read at the 2018 Colorado New Play Summit: Emmaleth Ryan of Grandview High School, Julianna Luce and Trinell Samuel of Vista PEAK Preparatory and Noah Jackson of Girls Athletic Leadership School. Video by David Lenk for the DCPA NewsCenter.

The 2018-19 Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition is sponsored by The Robert and Judi Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from The Ross Foundation, June Travis and Transamerica.