Today on Denver CenterStage, we begin an exciting daily countdown of the 10 talented high-school student playwrights whose works have been selected as semifinalists for our second annual statewide playwriting competition. Details below.
Scenester No. 1: Christina “Chris” Arias
School: Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
Teacher: Mr. Gary Dunn
Play title: Paper Clips
What is your play about? Paper Clips is about a girl named Cassie who has had one of the most crap-tastcular years of her life. But through it, she has learned more about herself and who she is meant to be.
Favorite word that appears in your script: That would have to be “normal,” because both Cassie’s experiences in the play and mine have been anything but …
Excerpt: “I guess I didn’t really want to die. Maybe no one does. Maybe they just want to stop existing for a while. At least I did.”
Dream casting: I would cast Lena Dunham from Tiny Furniture as Cassie, because when she pursued her career she couldn’t find roles that fit her – so she created them herself. She is such a beautiful, non-traditional actor, and she is authentic in a way that anyone playing Cassie would need to be.
Who or what was your inspiration for writing your play? Mainly my own experiences, and the amazing people who have helped me through them.
What did you learn from writing this play? This play has been quite the experience for me. I’ve been working on it for a little more than a year, and I’ve had my share of failures and successes throughout that time. I have to say, it has not been an easy year at all, as I’ve gone though all, if not more of what Cassie has. I, like Cassie, learned a lot about myself through writing this play, and that sometimes, it’s OK not to be OK.
About the Denver Center’s 2014 Regional Youth Playwriting Workshop and Competition:
What: “Your Story. Our Stage”: A one-act playwriting competition designed for area high schools. Local playwrights and DCPA Education staff members taught 143 playwriting workshops in 45 Colorado high schools. More than 2,899 high-school students participated in those workshops, which were held in every school district in the Denver-metro area and in 13 counties, including Chafee, Larimer and Las Animas.
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 158 submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and education professionals. 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 2014 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 Denver Center Theatre Academy students in the summer of 2015.
Our complete ‘Scenesters’ profile series to date:
No. 1: Christina Arias of Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy
No. 2: Joshua Contreras, Gunnison High School
No. 3: Keely Kritz of Denver School of the Arts
No. 4: Nathan Mast, Thomas B. Doherty High School
No. 5: Kiana Trippler, Thunder Ridge High School
No. 6: Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School
No. 7: Kaytlin Camp, Gunnison High School
Bonus: Read about 2014 winning teen playwright Laurain Park
Read about 2014 selected teen Playwright Laurain Park
TOMORROW: MEET SCENESTER NO. 2!
Video from the teen play readings at the 2014 Colorado New Play Summit