young playwrights festival

Sophia Chapadjiev, Director of Education

Employing the signature “O’Neill process,” the festival provides professional-level support to develop original one-act plays written by middle and high school students. With these methods, the young playwrights hone their work, furthering it from the initial isolation of writing to the collaborative process involved in making their script into a living, breathing play. Students receive a rigorous exploration of their work guided by professional artists as well as a script-in-hand public reading of their new play.

The 2020 Young Playwrights Festival has been moved online.

2020 overview


In light of the Young Playwrights Festival shifting online, we’ve sought new ways to support our fifteen young playwrights and their work in a digital manner so that the show goes on…line. We’ve extended the calendar for our festival, now taking place April 20-May 8, rather than over a single weekend. This model allows for us to spend more time with our playwrights and for our writers to have greater opportunity for gestation, reflection, and development. Our five Featured Playwrights each have a dedicated Mentor who will be meeting virtually with their playwright at least three times to offer developmental support, advice, and encouragement. Featured Playwrights will also receive individualized design consultations from YPF’s resident Dream Designer, Dahlia Al-Habieli. By the end of the Festival, each young playwright will have completed a rendering for their plays. These five playwrights will also get to hear their work come to life in their own Zoom reading performed by a team of actors (all who trained at the National Theater Institute). The 10 honorable mention Guest Playwrights will receive one-on-one mentoring meetings, group playwriting workshops, and dedicated design sessions. While this year’s YPF has taken on a new form, I am grateful for the technology that allows all of us to participate from the safety of our homes – team members are joining us from Pennsylvania; New York; Maine; Virginia; North Carolina; Washington, DC; Mississippi; New Mexico; and Connecticut – while meeting across time zones to support these burgeoning young playwrights and their fresh new works. Thank you, Sophia Chapadjiev YPF Director




director of education


Sophia Chapadjiev Sophia Chapadjiev is the Artistic Director of the Young Playwrights Festival and the O’Neill’s Director of Education. With nearly two decades of experience as an arts educator, Sophia has worked with a number of leading theater organizations in teaching students and teachers alike. Sophia is also a playwright and librettist whose work has been performed in New York, London, Toronto and Sydney. Her play, Over the Moon won Best Play, plus Audience Favorite at the American Globe Theater and In This House was selected as part of London’s inaugural Dark Horse Festival. Selected musical works of hers include: the one-act opera Aloha Flight 243 (music: A. Leyton-Brown) at HERE Arts Center, NY; Tobias Bentley’s World Cello Tour: of the Lesser-Known Nether Regions (music: N. Barstow) at The St. James (nka Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Other Palace), London; and the bijou opera, The Bone Keepers (music: C. O’Neil), a co-production of NYU and American Opera Projects which was highlighted in Broadway World’s opera review and described as “a kind of creep show meets Laverne and Shirley”. Sophia is also the author of Teaching Playwriting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Fostering Creativity in Your Classroom. BFA, Emerson; MFA, NYU's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.




advice to young playwrights


Dramatic writing is visual writing: A play is different from a novel or a short story in that it is meant to be performed. A playwright must always focus on what the stage will look like once it is live. This can be a point of real creativity: if you want to set it in a kitchen, set it in a kitchen. If you prefer the moon, set it on the moon. Drama is conflict: Somebody has a desire, and something stands in their way. It sounds vague, but it's the essence of drama. Don't over-explain: Once you lose an audience, it's almost impossible to get them back. So keep things going forward, and don't pause to explain. The audience may get confused, but a little confusion can be fun. And exposition is never dramatic. Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occurring: You've probably been exposed to Realism, with a big R. Realism was a movement that sought to represent "real life" on stage. When it debuted in the late 1800s, it caused riots. It's been the American formula for over 60 years. But... You don't have to follow that. You can have a hover-car chase, swap characters faces, and stage a gunfight in a field of pineapples. In fact, in Len Jenkin's Careless Love, all of that happens. If you have an idea, any idea, no matter how crazy it may seem, write it. Somebody will find a way to do it. Have fun: Writing a play is hard and it takes a lot of work. But seeing something you wrote live on the stage is unbelievably rewarding.




application


Applications are due Friday, February 7, 2020. Below is information about our application process. YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IF YOU:

  • are between the ages of 12-18
  • have written an original 10-15 page play
  • are interested in seeing a play of yours workshopped by professionals and presented at the world-renowned Eugene O’Neill Theater Center

TO APPLY: Download the application form [PDF] Print out TWO copies of your original script Mail your completed application and TWO copies of your play to:
Young Playwrights Festival
305 Great Neck Road
Waterford, CT 06385 NOTE:
  • Applications must be postmarked ON or BEFORE February 7, 2020.
  • Application materials will not be returned.
  • Plays will be selected on a competitive basis.
  • Only the work of those able to attend the entire Festival will be considered for inclusion.
  • The O'Neill does not provide housing or travel for festival attendees.
EARLY SUBMISSIONS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED Questions? Please contact Sophia at sophia@theoneill.org





meet our 2020 playwrights

Julia Browning

Negative Space

Norwich Free Academy

Connecticut

Isabel Comas-Soares

The Speech

Robert E. Fitch High School

Connecticut

Anya Jiménez

Sneakers

Professional Performing Arts School

New York

Marlie Kass

The Stories of Myth

Brimmer & May School

Stefan Kuhn

Mrs. Witherbee and the Super Moles

Clark Lane Middle School

Massachusetts

Connecticut

2020 Featured Playwrights

NEGATIVE SPACE by Julia Browning


About the playwright: Julia Browning is a junior at Norwich Free Academy. She is part of the costume department for Playshop and helps work on a student magazine for Writer's Ink. For the past eight years, Julia has been part of Tolland Youth Services Community Theater, where she is a member of the senior chorus. Last year, Julia was invited to the O’Neill’s YPF as an honorable mention Guest Playwright and is thrilled to return this year as a Featured Playwright. She enjoys reading, writing, and baking in her free time. About the play: Negative Space follows the story of Anna, a girl hiding a terrible secret, and Emilia, whose lives collide as they desperately come to terms with the pain of strained family relationships and hidden guilt. Directed by Jenna Doherty (NTI Spring ‘18) Bella O'Brien (MATS ‘16) as Emilia Harley Winzenreid (NTI Fall ‘17) as Anna Jessica Cerullo (NTI Spring ‘95) as Mother Bob Mussett (NTI Fall ‘02) as Father Emmy Kuperschmid (NTI Spring ‘15) as Lily Victoria Williams (NTI Fall ‘15) as Mrs. S / Therapist




MRS. WITHERBEE AND THE SUPER MOLES by Stefan Kuhn


About the playwright: Stefan Kuhn is in eighth grade at Clark Lane Middle School. He loves animals, and will attend the Agri-Science program at Ledyard High School this fall. Mrs.Witherbee and the Super Moles is his first play. About the play: When Mrs. Witherbee hears about the moles’ plot to world domination, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will she be able to contact an old friend before the mole empire takes full control? Directed by Lexy Leuszler (NTI Fall ‘10) Dorea Schmidt (NTI Fall ‘07) as Mrs. Witherbee Bethany Nicole Taylor (NTI Spring ‘09) as Actor 1 Sarah Salinger-Mullen as Actor 2 Mark David Irwin (NTI Fall ‘14) as Actor 3 Julian Gordon (NTI Spring ‘12) as Actor 4




THE STORIES OF MYTH by Marlie Kass


About the playwright: Marlie Jae Kass is thrilled to share one of her stories with the O’Neill’s YPF this year! Marlie lives in Boston, and is currently a freshman at Brimmer and May, where she is heavily involved in all aspects of their creative arts department. Over the summer, she attends Stagedoor Manor both to perform and, in the past two years, write and direct for DramaFest. When she’s not listening to her current favorite cast recording, she can be found creating and writing down new adventures and stories! About the play: A young woman learns of a life beyond her wildest dreams when she accidentally meets a mysterious circus performer with a unique way of seeing the world. Enchanted by the performer’s stories of magic and travel, she must make the decision that will change her life forever. Directed by Gabe Walker (NTI Spring ‘18) Rhianna Taylor (NTI Fall 18) as Myth Miranda Coble (MATS ‘17) as Daisy




SNEAKERS by Anya Jiménez


About the playwright: Anya Jiménez is a sophomore at the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. She is a writer, singer, and actor. Her writing has previously been recognized by the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, the Blank Theatre YPF, and the Lucille Lortel YPF. She is extremely grateful for the support from her friends and family, and honored to be part of the O’Neill’s Young Playwrights Festival! About the play: After sneaking out to go to a party, the last thing Elijah Davis expects to find is his mother impatiently waiting for his return. He swears that he’s innocent, but lies, violence, and dirty sneakers tell a different story. His mother’s rage is punishment enough, but are there other unforeseen consequences? Directed by Pascale Florestal (NTI Spring ‘12) Sarin West (NTI Spring ‘14) as Diana Holden Harris (NTI Fall ‘18) as Elijah




THE SPEECH by Isabel Comas-Soares


About the playwright: Isabel Comas-Soares lives in Groton, Connecticut and is currently a sophomore at Robert E. Fitch High School. She recently joined Fitch after moving from Chicago, IL where she completed her early education. While in Chicago, Izzy attended a summer youth writing camp where she acquired some background in fiction writing. Izzy contributes and participates in Amphora, the Fitch School Magazine. About the play: In order to boost her college resume and appease her mother, Julia, an intelligent and shy senior at Riverwood High School, decides to run against Tom, the incumbent class president. Mere seconds from stepping onto the packed auditorium’s stage, Julia’s mind goes blank as she suddenly can’t remember her speech. Directed by SMJ (TM '15) Grace Bernardo (MATS’ 14) as Julia Nicky Khor (TM ‘13) as Tom Danny Cassou (NTI Fall ‘17) as Bob




Guest Playwrights


A Different Type of Thanksgiving by Caroline Ancona; Old Saybrook MS, CT Betwixt by Huda Ayaz; The Wheatley School, NY Loss/Lost by Maleigh Crespo; Mississippi School of the Arts, MS Under the Stars by Madelyn Gorra; Clark Lane MS, CT Annette by Harmony Lepikko; Robert E. Fitch HS, CT Government Files by Michelle Liu; Clark Lane MS, CT Big by Maggie Munday Odom; The Grove School, CT Remedy at the Jordan by Aiden Rodgers; East Lyme HS, CT Princess Rule by Addyson Rogers; Cutler Magnet MS, CT Break My Bones by Tess Rowan; Langley HS, VA





YPF Since 2008

2008 - 2009


2009: Featured Playwrights Maturity Limit by Abigail Corrado; Waterford High School, CT Charlotte Ablaze by Emily Patten; Clark Lane Middle School Frustration by Erik Crouch; Robert E. Fitch Sr. High School The Bus Stop Chronicles by Brenna Sansom; Robert E. Fitch Sr. High School, CT Textbookland by Andi Wang; Choate, MA Guest Playwrights Halfway Decent Living by Tyler McCarthy; Fitch High School, CT 2008: Featured Playwrights Standing Ground by Shannon Burke; Fitch High School, CT The Ivy League by Casey Corrado; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Five Fridays in February Hannah Utt; Fitch High School, CT The Hollow Voices by Stephanie DelRosso; Loomis Chaffee, CT The Invention of O by Deepali Gupta; Greens Farms Academy, CT An Aspiring Insomniac by CatherineButta; Fitch High School, CT




2015 - 2019


2019: Featured Playwrights The Strange Case of Project Amelioration by Holly Richmond; Montville High School, CT Between The Legs by Faye Thompson; Lincoln School, RI Sabotage by Cori Diaz; Rockville High School, CT Good Opportunity by Dominic Brunaccioni; Waterford High School, CT Growing Up Old by Kayla Roy; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Guest Playwrights War that Killed by Pankhudi Prasad; Clark Lane Middle School, CT One Job, Fix It. by Jonah Kehew; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT The Interview by Will Grimes; The Park School, MA King Henric III of Urbeferria by Juan Vieyra; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT Starlight, Starbright by Aila McEnroe; Lincoln School, MA The Music Box by Riley Haworth; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT Someday. by Emma Hall, Clark Lane Middle School, CT Two Sides to a Tale (The Choice) by Yago Da Fonseca; Clark Lane Middle School, CT First World Problems by Mason LaForte; Waterford High School, CT A Shoe is an Item of Footwear… by Nico Brown; The Williams School, CT Float On by Caelan Desmond; The Williams School, CT Apples From The Tree by Lily Watson; Waterford High School, CT The Imaginary Friend by William Palmer; The William School, CT Inside the Box by Margaret Madole; East Lyme High School, CT Distance by Jordan J. Galouzis; Fitch High School, CT Castor I by Julia Browning; Norwich Free Academy, CT 2018: Featured Playwrights Schrödinger's Wife by Maurielle Mcgarvey; High School for Performing & Visual Arts, TX Unseen-The Story of a Girl and Her Imaginary Friend by Madelyn Beaudoin; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT How to Make a Women's Advocate by Taylor Roy; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Infallia by Jordan Bordner; Waterford High School, CT Places To Go, People to Be by Jesse Zieminski; Fitch High School, CT Guest Playwrights Those Left Behind by Aiden Rodgers; Salem School, CT Revenge of the Vegans by Jonah Kehew; Old Saybrook Middle School, CT It's a Match! by Jemmie Piersol-Freedman; Berlin-Boylston Public Schools, MA Roller Coaster Revenge by Abigail Klein; Lincoln School, RI My Heart Constricts in Pain by Maya Desai; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Little Wishes by Jenna Lane; ISAAC School, CT Want, Need by Luke Muti; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Actions Speak Louder Than Words by Anslie Dybala; West Side Middle School, CT Maggie by Holly Richmond; Montville High School, CT Ledgeside by Ben Connor; Mt. Pleasant High School, DE Glad I Met You by Clara Gerrish; Fitch High School, CT Untitled (Guinea Pig Play) by Patrick Kirwin; Albert Einstein High School, MD You Choose by Ashley Fischer; Rockville High School, CT Namesake by Lili Kane; Fisher Island School, CT The Smallest Heros by Sierra Blanco; Hunter College High School, NY The Color of Adventure by Jessayln Krenicki; Waterford High School, CT 2017: Featured Playwrights A Timepiece of Mind by Amanda Rowe; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Worth More by Grace Clarke; Fitch High School, CT Love at First Catch by Lauren Knowles; Waterford High School, CT Achilles' Dilemma by William Palmer; Williams School, CT Saving Grace (The Human Experiment) by Lucy Sydel; LaGuardia Arts High School, NY Guest Playwrights Brace for it by Briana Nelson; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Two Guns and One Man by Leslie Ann Melendez; ISAAC School, CT A Blind Heart by Shane Crespin; West Side Middle School, CT Willow Trees by Grace Cassineri; Williams School, CT God is a Dinosaur by Nidhi Somineni; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Counterfeit Detective by Jimmy Kilcomons; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Hunger for Knowledge by Philip Knowlton; Williams School, CT Secrets of the Locket by Kate Paecht; Cutler Middle School, CT Please Say Something by Claire Morgan; Fitch High School, CT Salted Butter by Bridget Pegg; Incarnate Word Academy, MO Family Nights with the Fletchers by Joseph Sexton; McNair Academic High School, NJ Heaven Knows by Christina Diaz; Rockville High School, CT Dysfunction by Meghan Nowak; Waterford High School, CT Torn in Two by Karishma Chouhan; Montville High School, CT Through Sickness and in Health by Jennifer Lussier; Fitch High School, CT Coffeehouse Bridge by Ben Weber; Great Neck South High School, NY 2016: Featured Playwrights The Feast of the Seven Fishes by Natalie Frascarelli; Waterford High School, CT Warehouse Whereabouts by Owen Seltzer; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Upon a Star by Adelle Clark; Cutler Middle School, CT Deliverance by Georgia White; Stonington High School, CT The Bedroom by Isabelle Pierce; John Jay High School, NY Guest Playwrights The Child Next Door by Abby Rogers; Cutler Middle School, CT Trapped by Talia Masson; East Lyme Middle School, CT My Favorite Keys by Thomas Pitasi; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Massacre at Fort Griswold by William Palmer; The Williams School, CT Pens and Apologies by Lily Watson; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Wolf's Lie by Paige Martin; St. Bernard School, CT From the Shadows by Ariannah "Ari" Black; West Side Middle School, CT Blinded by Gladys Alarcon; ISAAC School, CT Day In, Day Out by Jesse Zieminski; Fitch High School, CT The Infernal Comedy by Caroline Jeffers; Rockville High School, CT The Pink Triangle by Kate Koster; Green Farms Academy, CT The Unusual and Unfortunate Uses of a Shovel by Benjamin Weber; Great Neck South High School, NY Assistant to Agent by Jennifer Lussier; Fitch High School, CT Salt Water Taffy by Elijah Uttley-Rosado; Ledyard High School, CT I'm Not People by Stephanie Okun; Riverdale Country School, NY House Crew by Dominic Bruno; Waterford High School, CT 2015: Featured Playwrights Stranger Strangers by Zoe Rose; Classical Magnet School, CT Stay Sharp by Talia Masson; Dual Language and Arts Magnet Middle School, CT Empty Space by Branwyn McDowell; Waterford High School, CT The Dangers of Studying by Sean Estep; Fitch High School, CT Ascension by Chloe Wilson; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Beyond Death by Joshua Harlow; Waterford High School, CT Guest Playwrights Ancient Histrionics by Caroline Jeffers; Rockville High School, CT White Shores by Rebecca Weigel; New London High School, CT Of Thee I See by Hope Burnside; Saint Bernard High School, CT The Ant Kid by Elijah Uttley-Rosado; Ledyard High School, CT Hello? by Georgia White; Stonington High School, CT Battle of the Nations by Daniel Wadsworth; Waterford High School, CT Fishing by Stephanie Okun; Riverdale Country School, NY A Child's Story by Quincy Confoy; Ethical Culture Fieldston, NY The Truth About Success by Anika Jannatul; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Donner Diner by Avery Holzworth; Dual Language and Arts, CT Twist by Violet Abad; ISAAC School, CT Karma by Anthony Philopena; Westside Middle School, CT Black and White by Adelle "Addie" Clark; Cutler Middle School, CT Repeat by Dominic Bruno; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Drill by Sierra Blanco; Hunter College Elementary School, NY Penelope Harkness by Sara Beth Bouchard; Dual Language and Arts, CT




2010 - 2014


2014: Featured Playwrights The Adventures of Millennial High School by Jake Romano; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Ben Loved Phoebe, Ben Hates Tea by Sarah Stryker; Waterford High School, CT Aftermath by Caitlin McQuade; Classical Magnet School, CT Good Guy, Bad Guy, Bad Guy, Bad Guy by Sasha Volkerts; New London High School, CT The Perfect Mistake by Lauren Rusk; ISAAC School, CT Guest Playwrights The Vote by Jack Nassetta; Saint Bernard School, CT Beyond Death by Joshua Harlow; Waterford High School, CT There. by Zoe Rose; Classical Magnet School, CT Light Blue by Miguel Morales; New London High School, CT Like Snow by Molly Turban; Saint Bernard School, CT Charles & Paprika by Julia Bonadies; Rockville High School, CT The Day It Stopped by Olesia Pounch; Waterford High School, CT A Fairground Romance by Bridget Gray; East Lyme High School, CT The Switch by Sophie Wang; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Path to Success by Jonathan Dryden-Jaffe; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Which Will it Be? by Emily Moore; West Side Middle School, CT The Haunting by Nichole Roman; ISAAC School, CT Color by Quinn Ryan; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Think Differently by Kate Porter; CLark Lane MIddle School, CT The Outcast Clique by Kelly Sandgren; Cutler Middle School, CT The Case of the Lost Child by Madeline Christensen; ISAAC School, CT 2013: Featured Playwrights If by Alyssa Serrambana; Classical Magnet School, CT A World with Three Sides by Carin Estey; Waterford High School, CT Return of the Heroic Son by Shawn Lee; Fitch High School, CT Pigeon by Elijah Singer; New London High School, CT The Cinderella Predicament by Megan Sturm; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Guest Playwrights Stuck by Rachel Dondero; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Gone by Carissa Aekins; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Red by Joshua Steele Kelly; Waterford High School, CT Jungle Fever by Noah Todd; Waterford High School, CT We're Leaving by Melissa Close; Waterford High School, CT The Bar by Micah Greenleaf; Waterford High School, CT Spark of Revolution by Zahra Kamel; Waterford High School, CT The Essay by Adam Mortensen; Cutler Middle School, CT All Washed Up by Giselle Shuleshko; New London High School, CT The New Girl by Lauren Rusk; ISAAC School, CT Around the Table by Alyssa Gunther; Rockville High School, CT Save Our Souls by Kate Koster; Green Farms Academy, CT 2012: Featured Playwrights Our Founding Fathers by Kelly O’Connor; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Explanations by Emily Patten; Saint Bernard School, CT Dayton's Saxophone by Matthew Alfultis; Waterford High School, CT 30 Years Young by Tiffany Avallone; Waterford High School, CT Happy as a Clam by Lisa Mueller; Rockville High School, CT Guest Playwrights Prompt of a Party by Molly Young; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Breaking Point by Dylan Abate; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Old Romance by Nulin Phrommavanh; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Final Virus by Yvonne Sadinsky; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Bogus Friends are the Best Kind by Jeannette Mooney; Clark Lane Middle School, CT A Charming Way to Say Hello by Ashley Roselund; Waterford High School, CT A Sinfun Son by Andrew John Pedro II; Waterford High School, CT Patriots of a Nation by Bowei Zhao; Waterford High School, CT Pressure Drop by Julia Little; Pine Point School, CT Saudade by Emily Harper; Fitch High School, CT Reconciliation by Daron Chandler; Fitch High School, CT The Forgiveness Process by Renee Harms; Fitch High School, CT 2011: Featured Playwrights The End by Alma Doran; Fitch High School, CT Notebook by Kevin Schlink; Waterford High School, CT Facebook World by Sarah Riemann; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Truck Stop by Kyla Wingrove-Haugland; Ledyard High School, CT Elevator by Brianna Matava; Rockville High School, CT Guest Playwrights Elevator by Kanani Kinnaman; Homeschool, CT A Long-Awaited Reunion by Nathaniel Ross; Waterford High School, CT Shattered by Matt Henn; Waterford High School, CT Prepped by Joshua Harlow; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Eli by Tianna Roman; Clark Lane Middle School, CT During Time of Great Need by Albrianna Farnum; Fitch High School, CT Just a Couple of Coffees by Carin Estey; Clark Lane Middle School, CT The Family Secret by Jacob Turner; Clark Lane Middle School, CT 2010: Featured Playwrights El Dia de Gracias by Amanda Jengo; Fitch High School, CT The Foxwoods Dilemma by Micah Greenleaf; Clark Lane Middle School, CT Socks Don't Cure Cold Feet by Casey Corrado; Waterford High School, CT The Rhyme-Space Continuum by Nicholas Rieger Kennedy; Fitch High School, CT This Just In by Erin Bilir; Colorado Academy, CO





Funding for the Young Playwrights Festival provided by: The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; CT Automotive Retailer's Association; Bodenwein Public Benevolent Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Waterford Education Foundation; and O'Neill Annual Fund donors

C O N T A C T

Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

305 Great Neck Road

Waterford, CT 06385

Administrative Offices: (860) 443-5378

Email: theaterlives@theoneill.org

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EUGENE ONEILL MEMORIAL THEATER CENTER INC