Young playwrights take their stories to the stage
Casandra Kennedy has wanted to be a writer since before she could read or write.
"I would come up with stories to tell my siblings and parents," the Bradshaw Mountain High School senior said.
Casandra earned second place at the Prescott Center for the Arts second annual 2012 Young Playwrights Festival for her play "Shampoo." She is a member of the BMHS Advanced Drama class.
Casandra said her language arts teacher showed her a flyer less than a week before the deadline in November. She wandered the library shelves for inspiration, finally finding a volume on 1950s history.
"'Shampoo' is what you need after 'Grease' and 'Hairspray,'" she said, referring to lighthearted musical productions set in the '50s and '60s.
She ran the script past a couple of her friends, asking them if it made sense, if it worked, and was it funny, then sent it in.
Her favorite playwright is - who else - the Bard himself.
"I love Shakespeare. I want to be an English teacher so I can teach Shakespeare to teens," she said. "Some don't like him, but it's because they weren't exposed to it the right way."
Liberty Traditional School seventh-grader Devon Bonelli won a spot in a three-way tie for third place for his play "Project Deception," a murder mystery.
Devon, 13, said his play is about a girl whose boyfriend gets shot and thrown off a cliff. The main character must uncover the murderer's identity.
Devon said he gets inspired with an idea and knows how it ends, and then goes back to fill in the middle.
While revising his play, Devon said he lost the last half when the computer crashed an hour before deadline.
"It actually was a good thing," he said about rewriting the final portion. "I added some things I probably wouldn't have."
Devon plays clarinet in the LTS band, takes lessons on the guitar and violin, and is class representative on the student council. He also volunteers at his former school, Granville Elementary, as a math tutor and helps in the art and drama clubs. His future plans include studying two- and three-dimensional art at Tri-City Prep, and earning a scholarship to Cambridge - his first choice - or MIT.
The Young Playwrights Festival takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. at Franklin Phonetic School. Tickets are $5 at the door. All 10 winning playwrights will receive recognition and prize packages from local merchants. Judges at the 6 p.m. performance will select one student to take home the grand prize of $150.
Other playwrights on the bill include first-place winner Taylor Whittemore with "Untitled Greek Play"; third-place ties Anna Flurry, "C is for Cat," and Tiffany Whittemore, "The Love of Life"; and honorable mentions Alaina Rowitsch, "Izzie and the Ice Queen," Hanna Wiesner, "Painting Memories," Gina D'Alessandro, "The Debt to Society," Sarah Lemcke, "Railroad Crossings," and Silas Wiesner, "Treasure for the Tribe."
Sue Tone is a reporter for the Prescott Valley Tribune.