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From Emma – Accidental Awesomeness

May 10, 2012

There are an awful lot of delightful little idiosyncrasies about the plays we produce for the Young Playwrights’ Festival.

Apprentice Zach Kanner as the Chocolate Man in the YPF play “Scenes from a Candy Shop”

Sometimes, they read perfectly right off the page, and we as directors can simply bring the pieces to the actors as something simple and straightforward. More often than not, though, there are lines of dialogue that confuse our literary brains, stage directions that baffle our sense of logic, and moments that we have no idea how to stage coherently (like the independently functioning Head and Body puppets in last year’s “Baby Bobby and Alex”). And sometimes, a mistake, indecision, or moment of whimsy from the playwright can turn into something priceless.

“There’s something I have to tell you!” says the Mouse Queen in YPF ’10. “I’m going to have twins!”
“Oh no! When are they due?” asks Heroic Humphrey.
“Tonight!” the Queen exclaims.

Nonsensical? A little. Comic gold onstage? Absolutely.

“…they will send you to an orphanage’s home?” one of my actors asks quizzically, reading a line. “Shouldn’t we change it to ‘orphanage?'”
“Nope,” say I, grinning. “Keep it. We’ll make it work.”

Another soon-to-be classic is “The Science Experiment That Went Wrong!”

And even if we don’t always see them upon first glance at the scripts, the kids writing these plays have master plans. I remember working in the classroom with young playwright Biance Acosta of Central Elementary:

“…And then Mrs. Donut Person turns into a ghost!” she tells me.
“Wow! What happens to Mr. Donut Person?”
“He says he told her so! And then there’s a funeral!” She beams. And, fifteen minutes later, she runs up to me and adds in a loud, proud whisper, “AND THERE’S SAD MUSIC AT THE FUNERAL!”
“Cool! Write it down!”

Biance’s “The Sad Story of Mrs. Donut Person,” is one of the seven plays that audiences will see unveiled at this year’s Festival, and it is every inch a YPF classic.

A frog, a pumpkin, and a bird get ready to go onstage for “A Tricky Story” in last year’s YPF

We hope you can join us for this year’s Festival. The shows that these kids have created are hilarious, touching, tragic, uplifting, ridiculous, and absolutely unforgettable– curious phrasings and idiosyncrasies and all.

The Seventh Annual Young Playwrights’ Festival is Saturday May 19, 7pm
Immediately following the show is our fabulous Drink and Dessert Gala to cap off the night
Tickets for both available at http://www.touchstone.org / 610-867-1689

Need a reminder of how incredible of a show this is? Check out the photo video of last year’s Festival:

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