Kids these days are terribly advanced.
I remember when I was a teenager, I made stupid videos with my friend Jason, played the horn, and the biggest concern on my mind was that calculus test.
Never would I have thought to write a brooding, impressionistic play about abuse and suicide.
But that’s just what Kat Blackburn, author of deliver me from evil, did. Her work was the highlight of Pegasus Player’s 24th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. Telling the story of Magdelina, a tightly wound young woman who slowly unloads her grief and angst to her compassionate therapist, deliver me from evil was not something most 17 year olds would choose to tackle for their first play. While I must admit that I was expecting some sort of narrative twist that never happened, it’s a complex, beautiful, honest and original piece. I’m sure Ms. Blackburn owes a great deal of credit to her mentor, Mia McCullough, who worked with the young playwright in developing her idea, which was formed originally as a series of poems, for the stage. But Blackburn has real promise.
The next most developed piece of the evening was The Nowhere People by Gabriella Bonamici. A story about a wacky inventor and her new-found friend who frantically put the final touches on their “ghost machine,” at it’s essence it’s a tale on making peace with recent loss. Again, another incredibly deep theme. I like how it flipped from funny to bizarre to touching. It kept my interest and served as a great opening for the evening.
Roller Coaster by Gixiang Lee was the comedic centerpiece of the evening. I guess it’s true what they say: comedy is more difficult than tragedy. Oh, it’s a cute play, and the setup is great: two seemingly incompatible strangers get stuck at the top of a roller coaster, and discover, over the course of what seems like an entire day, that they actually have more in common than they originally thought. I chuckled a bit. But from what I gather, teens and young adults these days think humor involves lots of yelling and smart-alleck responses. I find that tiresome, but perhaps I’m out of step, and, also, comedy is extremely subjective: I prefer subtlety mixed with some shock. However, still an admirable piece from this young writer.
The cast represented the works very well — particularly Michael Gonring and Alice Wedoff, who played many of the core roles. Wonderfully eclectic performers, they are.
Here’s a pic of all the honored young playwrights. Notice a trend?
Yes: they are ALL young women.
The Young Playwrights festival runs through January 31 at Pegasus Players on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. To learn more about the Young Playwrights Festival, read my earlier post >