On the Stage: Young Playwrights Fest gives students a jump-start

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City Theatre's annual Young Playwrights Festival takes fantastic journeys through the imagination and looks at life during the American Revolution and the Depression, just a sampling of the subjects in the six one-act plays chosen from more than 200 submissions by middle and high school students from Western Pennsylvania.

The selected writers are paired with dramaturgs to refine the plays, and their works will receive professional productions Saturday and Sunday in the South Side theater company's Lester Hamburg Studio Stage.

City Theatre's 2012-13 season

City Theatre artistic director Tracy Brigden chats with Sharon Eberson about season-opener "Maple & Vine" and beyond, including fresh-from-Broadway "Seminar" and Tami Dixon's "South Side Stories." (Video by Melissa Tkach; 10/4/2012)


The schedule of plays:

Middle School Selections (performed 1 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday):

• "The Journey Through Gulompae Forest" by Marin Exler (Carlynton Junior-Senior High School): A missing father and a mysterious language take Allie on a fantastical journey of magic and danger. (Dramaturg: Murphi Cook.)

• "Elizabeth's Revolution" by Brigid Stuart (Brentwood Middle School): A young woman enlists her brother and a friend to help her join the fight for freedom -- the colonies' and her own -- in the turbulent time of the American Revolution. (Dramaturg: Jeanne Drennan.)

• "Sherbet Homes and the Diamond Deception" by Claire Zalla (Fort Couch Middle School): A brazen burglar swipes a diamond necklace and escapes from a fancy party. But have no fear. Inspector Sherbet Homes is on the case. (Dramaturg: Elizabeth Rheinfrank.)

High School Selections (performed 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday):

• "The Stranger" by Liam McInerney (Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School) -- An addict who walked out on his wife and daughter gets one chance to make amends. (Dramaturg: Annie DiMario.)

• "Roost" by Lana Meyer (Carlynton Junior-Senior High School) -- A Depression-era tale of desperation that explores how far we'll go to get what we want, or to hold onto what's ours. (Dramaturg: Dennis Schebetta).

• "Five Generations" by Alexis Payne (Pittsburgh CAPA): When setbacks threaten the survival of a generations-old bakery, the proud owner must face the fact that sometimes a family recipe needs to be adjusted. (Dramaturg: Brianna Allen.)

As part of the two-day showcase, City also offers workshops: Physical Comedy for Youth (ages 12-18; 2: 30 p.m. Saturday) and "In the Light: A Shadow Puppetry Workshop" (ages 10-18; 2:30 p.m. Sunday).

Matt M. Morrow, City's associate artistic director, directs the festival performances, with assists from Carlyn Aquiline (literary manager and dramaturg); Kristen Link (education director); Tony Ferrieri (scenic consulting); Sabrina Zain (costumes); Weston Wilkerson (lighting); and Angela Baughman (sound). Performers include Julianne Avolio, Valentina Benrexi, Atticus Cain, Monteze Freeland, Hannah Gold, Matthew Henderson, Caroline Jordan, Hayley Nielsen, Skyler Sullivan and Jordan Walsh.

Tickets for the Young Playwrights Festival at City Theatre, 1300 Bingham St., are $10 for students, $15 for adults; workshops are $10 each or two for $15 (advance registration by phone is required). More at 412-431-2489 or citytheatrecompany.org.


Sharon Eberson: seberson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1960. First Published October 4, 2012 4:00 AM


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