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9th Grade Play Writing 2018
Posted on: November 13, 2018
On Thursday, November 8th, the Ninth Graders read excerpts from thirteen original 10 minute plays that they had written in Jan Cook’s play writing class. At the invitation of Gary Cadwallader, the Education Director at Palm Beach DramaWorks, each of the plays has also been entered into the DramaWorks Play Competition, open to all 9-12th grade students in Palm Beach County Schools. From all entries, 20 finalists will be selected and those finalists will receive professional feedback followed by a week to make revisions before a panel of playwrights and theater practitioners will select 10 winning plays. Those plays will be assigned a professional director and actors who will stage a live reading at Palm Beach DramaWorks’ Spring Playwriting Festival. Each winning playwright will receive a $250 prize and have his or her play published in an anthology.
Our Ninth Graders began the process by learning basic playwriting formatting and concepts using a variety of exercises and prompts, and by reading original plays written by the class of 2018. Then the students used what they’d learned to write a first draft. Then came the re-writing process which involved roundtable class discussions. That’s when each budding playwright learned about plot holes, character development, creating natural dialogue, and much more. The critics around the table didn’t hold back, and offered constructive criticism and advice on authenticity as only teenage friends can. With topics ranging from bullying to family drama to business deals to dating, and everything in between, the Ninth graders ran the gambit from “write what you know” to “just write”.
At the presentation of the plays before an audience of parents and teachers, each playwright turned his or her creation over to fellow classmate turned actors for the reading. In the process, they experienced what all playwrights must go through. They heard their own carefully crafted words interpreted and brought to life by others before an audience that was hearing them for the first time.