The DCPA’s second annual year-long Regional High School Playwriting Workshop and Competition culminated June 26 with two fully staged performances of The Tale of the Almighty Sword by Jack Hansen of Arapahoe High School.
“Words can’t summarize what I have experienced,” Hansen said. “It has shown me that what I want to do with my life is endless.”
The program was designed to nurture Colorado high-school student writers, develop new plays and inspire creativity through playwriting. Members of the DCPA Education staff conducted classroom workshops for nearly 3,000 students last fall, which led to 158 one-act play submissions. Of those, 10 were chosen as semifinalists and three were then selected to have their plays workshopped and read by professional actors at the 2015 Colorado New Play Summit.
At that point, Hansen’s play was chosen to be fully performed by DCPA Education summer students in the Conservatory Theatre.
The Tale of the Almighty Sword is a comedy inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The action follows a sword crafted by the gods that gets passed on from person to person – emphasis on “passed on.” Anyone who touches the sword must carry it until death, and – let’s just say Hansen’s play comes with a high body count.
In the video above, DCPA Video Producer David Lenk and Senior Arts Journalist John Moore show you excerpts from the performances, along with comments from Hansen, Director Steven Cole Hughes and actors Michelle Piccone and Sean Coughlin – both of whom, like Hansen, incidentally also attended Arapahoe High School. (Piccone is pictured above right. Photo by John Moore.)
“This program allows students to try. It opens their minds to a whole new world of possibilities,” said Coughlin.
Added Hughes: “The film director John Hughes said the teenage voice is the most important voice to be heard. That’s why we are doing this.”
Play submissions were judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and educational professionals. The three finalists each received a cash scholarship of $250. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists received a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms.
For more information on the program and how to schedule a workshop in your school in the fall of 2015, click here.
Our Almighty Sword photo gallery:
All of our photos are downloadable for free, in a variety of sizes. Simply click “View original Flickr image.” All photos by John Moore.
Video: Student playwriting program featured at 2015 Colorado New Play Summit:
Almighty Sword cast list:
Written by Jack Hansen
Avery Dell: The Old Knight
Nik Velimirovic: Sir Nicholas
Zoe Fonck: Rubert
Michelle Piccone: Kaj/Merchant’s Wife
Nicholas Chavez: Christopher/Jaquis
Matthew Cooper Parone: Merchant
Maddie Beatty: Thief
Rachel Sanderson: Narrator
Sean Coughlin: The Almighty Voice
Steven Cole Hughes: Director
Some previous NewsCenter coverage of the 2014-15 Playwriting Competition:
Video: Highlights of readings from the Colorado New Play Summit
Three student plays chosen for Colorado New Play Summit readings
Denver Center launches statewide high-school playwriting initiative
Official information page on the DCPA’s teen playwriting program
Meet our 10 talented semifinalists:
The DCPA’s Regional High School Playwriting Competition is sponsored by the Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from FirstBank, MarkWest Energy Partners, The Ross Foundation, Stonebridge Companies and June Travis.
‘The Tale of the Almighty Sword’ playwright Jack Hansen. Photo by John Moore.