Where can a budding playwright go to hear her work read?
If the playwright goes to Briarcliff High School, that place is Hudson Stage Company, which on April 8 holds its fourth annual Young Playwrights Festival, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Memorized.”
Director Jamie Mandel says the event, a staged reading, got its name the first year and it stuck.
Briarcliff’s young playwrights have apparently heeded the age-old advice to “write what you know,” as several of the plays involve events in the lives of students.
• Brandon Epstein’s “College Slam” is a slam poem about selling one’s self to colleges.
• Chloe Effron’s “The Letter” is a monologue about getting the college acceptance letter.
• Grace Schulz’s “The Quiet Study Area” looks at teens in the library.
• Becky Chalsen’s “My Robot Baby” is a satire about the high school assignment that makes a student care for a robot baby overnight.
There are comedies: “Spring Break,” by Jessica Lynch and Caroline Davey, is about two ditzy girls on a flight to Miami for spring break.
And this year’s offerings include darker stuff, from Olivia Rerek’s “Getting Off the Edge,” a dark comedy about teen-age angst and suicide, to “Salvage and Recycle” Epstein’s play about the costs of the war in Iraq.
The plays are written as assignments in Mandel’s theater class, or as extra-curricular work by drama-club students. They are directed by Mandel, with an assist from Briarcliff director Ian Driver and two student directors, senior Michele Rubich and freshman Rebecca Simpson Wallack.
Hudson Stage co-founder Denise Bessette helps to coordinate the production of what this year will be more than two dozen staged one-acts.
“Drama class and drama club students are thrilled to be able to see audience reaction to their works in progress,” Mandel says. “It has been an invigorating experience for all involved.”
She explains the process: “Once the play is in first draft form, we read it through and begin to workshop it in the club and the class. When it has become a workable play, we begin to block it.”
Here’s the list of one-acts, in no particular order, with a quick synopsis provided by Mandel:
“Salvage and Recycle” by Brandon Epstein, a play about the costs of our war in Iraq
“The Letter” by Chloe Effron, a monologue about getting the college acceptance letter
“College Slam” by Brandon Epstein, a slam poem about “selling” one’s self to colleges
“The Bad Boy” by Brian Cipollina, a play about a boy who does nasty and sometimes violent actions but will never speak during his outbursts
“AAGH” by Sage Dos Santos, a play about a phobia workshop
“EBay” by Emma Flihan, a play aobut three people competing on EBay and how this affects their personal lives
“Channel 8 News” by Samantha Kittay, a play about a very bad news show
“The Quiet Study Area” by Grace Schulz, a glimpse into teenagers in the library
“Getting off the Edge” by Olivia Rerek, a dark comedy about teenage angst and suicide
“Conifers” by Emma Flihan, a comedy about our mistreatment of trees
“My Robot Baby” by Becky Chalsen, a satire about the high school assignment that makes a student care for a robot baby overnight.
“Lyrics Gone Wrong” by Grace Shulz, which is still a work in progress
“ The Way of the Spy“ by Laura Johnson, a small, opening scene to the show
“Park Bench by Laura Johnson,” based on an improvisational exercise we did in class, this play looks at one conniving little girl and her interactions on a park bench
“The Assignment” by Allison Tilles (directed by Rebecca Simpson Wallack, freshman) – an overwhelmed student works all night on an assignment.
“The Girl That was Mine Who I Never Had” by Justin Yamet, a loud, obnoxious but endearing guitar player disrupts an airport.
“Memories” by Rebecca Simpson Wallack, a play about the death of a friend to leukemia
“GaGa for Lady GaGa” by Michelle Rubich, a lighthearted look at Lady GaGa and Brittany Spears fans
“A Conversation Piece” by Carrie Jablansky, a dysfunctional family eating dinner together
“Just Married” by Allegra Carter (directed by Michelle Rubich, senior), an arranged marriage that may be going awry.
“Spring Break” by Jessica Lynch and Caroline Davey- two ditzy girls on a flight to Miami for Spring break
“Inspiration Frustration” by Jared Ettinger, a light piece about James Cameron and his movies
“No Teacher” by Emily Altabef and Nicole Bugnacki, a substitute tries to cope with a rowdy class
“The Tragic Dawn of an Author in Modernesque (a.k.a. The Bad Morning of Some Writer in the 2010s)” by John Hooper, an erudite writer becomes frustrated as he faces the problems of publishing
“Just Tryin’ to Help” by Katelyn Wilson, a very selfish girl tries to help, but she can’t seem to do it.
The participating drama club and drama class members are: John Alecci, Emily Altabef, Nicole Bugnacki, Christina Cappelli, Allegra Carter, Becky Chalsen, Jake Chatsky, Brian Cippolina, Jimmy Crowley, Caroline Davey, Chloe Effron, Dev Elmes, Brandon Epstein, Jared Ettinger, Emma Flihan, Laura Johnson, John Hooper, Carrie Jablansky, Omer Khalid, Samantha Kittay, Jessica Lynch, Sadie McMurrin, Jacqueline Parisi, Sara Pinsker, Olivia Rerek, Michelle Rubich, Grace Schulz, Rebecca Simpson Wallack, Allison Tilles, Katelyn Wilson, Justin Yamet