This Friday (Dec. 10) a world premiere of 10-minute plays by three young playwrights will be hosted by the Seattle Rep at their Leo K. Theater. It’s the ninth year of the company’s Student Playwriting Project in Seattle Schools. This year’s fresh voices are from Roosevelt High.
According to Scott Koh, the Schools Program manager at the Rep, the strength of Roosevelt's drama program has made these playwrights and student actors unusually ready for professional staging. "The kids have an amazingly high theater aptitude," said Koh.
In Natalie Frevert's "Nowhere To Run," originally inspired by the myth of Atalanta, a young track star tries to break free of her domineering mother. The female lead in "Because It Does...," by Cassie Gill, confronts herself as a catalyst for violence when she is forced to attend an all-boys school. Agueda Dudley-Berrios’ two characters in "Kiss Me If You Can" trace in lip-synched pop songs the romance that grows as Girl Teaches Boy how to sing. The student actors are coached by Rep theater artists, and the plays are professionally staged by the theater’s full union crew.
The best moments in theater happen, said Koh, when actors break out of merely role-playing to inhabit their characters and situations fully. He recalled the scene in rehearsal this week when two of the male actors in Gill's play did an especially convincing job of fighting over the protagonist, "Paige": suddenly frightened by the boys’ violence and desperate to call her father, the emotions of the actress playing Paige fused in an authenticity that lifted the entire play to another level of performance. Such electric moments are transformative for drama teachers as well as for their students.
If you go: Friday, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m., Leo K. Theatre at Seattle Rep. To reserve tickets, call the box office at 206-443-2222. Suggested donation: $5 per ticket (goes directly to Roosevelt High School Drama Program). Students are free.