This summer, Philadelphia Young Playwrights alumna Angela Bey jetted off to Sundance straight from her months-long internship with us. Read about her incredible experience below!
I didn’t know what to expect from the Sundance Directors Lab.
I got the invitation on a lunch break from my internship at PYP. I met with Tayarisha Poe, the director of Selah and the Spades, at a coffee shop near City Hall. We were catching up from the fall—talks about Ursinus, hair color changes, and other teenage existential crises. Then she asks if I’d be available in June.
“Something at Sundance. I’ll know for sure in a week, but it’d be great if you could make it.”
I wasn’t available. I would be finishing up an internship and my facilitator position with the Performing Identities Project with PYP, I had been offered a Summer Fellowship at Ursinus, I needed a part-time job to put food on the table, and I had a fear of mountains. I spent so much time in my head that I didn’t realize she was waiting for an answer.
“Of course!”, I said. And in that moment I decided that an opportunity like this was too flipping awesome to squander. Even then, it hadn’t hit me yet.
It was the end of the first week and I was sat at my usual table in the back of the dining hall during lunch. My friend Lucas would be going back to Chile the next day, and he asked the question between mouthfuls of pasta. A solemn silence fell over our conversation. It had only been a week, but the mountain air had already leaked into my pores and began to shift how and what I thought about the performing arts.
In this very dining hall were posters of films I watched on Netflix last week, decorated directors, cinematographers, actors, et cetera I never thought I’d meet, and some of the best catered food I’ve ever had. I’m supposed to feel out of place, and I did for a long time, but I quickly realized in this community existed a unifying spirit reminiscent to places and programs like PYP back home. I took solace in the fact that everyone was there to learn from and support each other—whether it was formally etched into our itinerary or found in moments like this sharing stories around the lunch table. Sure—some people were more decorated than others yet there was this camaraderie and respect that didn’t need to be spoken to feel.
Everything and everyone was accessible, tangible, and their passion and success inspired me to do and be the same. It would behoove you to not engage in the madness of it all. Of course Lucas was sad to leave—there’s no other place like this.
Logistically, eight feature films were divided into four teams with advisers sprinkled among them. The week’s work culminated in screenings on Sunday that everyone looked forward to! There was no expectation of perfection, but the opposite, and we cheered as each project came to an open and close. We were genuinely proud of everyone because it was clear that we accomplished something great.
“Same,” said Lucas and to my surprise everyone muttered something in agreement. I smiled ear to ear.
Another friend at the table said he put "Sundance" on his dream board months ago and when he got the call from his agent, he was in a car crash that morning. We continued sharing stories of disbelief. I told my own: I’ve been attached to Selah and the Spades since my junior year of high school.
Coincidentally, this is also when I started my relationship with PYP (I’d told them about us!). Since then, both involvements have grown and flourished into opportunities that I wouldn’t dream of having until now. Both are helping me dictate and discover who I am as an artist. I wouldn’t have gotten to Sundance without either of them.
We were way over time and strongly encouraged to leave by the catering staff. Lucas and some of the others had to get back to shooting anyway. He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before running off to the shuttle.
“I’m honored to have met you!”
He took off, but what he said stuck with me. Even now it does. There were a million things I wanted to shout back, but instead I just smiled.
Unforgettable. It truly was.
One our our fabulous Alumni (and former staff members), Genne Murphy, will have a play presented at Yale School of Drama this weekend! If you are in the area, we encourage you to check it out.
A tale of (gay) marriage and (queer) death
Written by GENNE MURPHY
Directed by RORY PELSUE
Iseman Theater (GRN)
1156 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511
(Location is wheelchair accessible)Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 4PM
Friday, October 28, 2016 at 4PM & 8PM
Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 4PM
Penelope and Dex are a modern-day queer couple about to get married. Marie is the latest bride of a 17th-century French lord with extraordinary whiskers and a bad habit of murdering his wives. These stories converge in Bluebeard's Wife, a play that explores love, death, gay assimilation, and dark truths behind locked doors.
By: Charmira Nelson Pilgrim
Alumni Council Member
Former Youth Council Member
LEAP program 2016 was really a life changing experience. I got to connect with people from all over the world, and they all were wise, mature and diligent just like me. I was able to relate to so many of my peers, and so grateful for connecting and networking with them. The program taught me valuable skills on how to “nail a job,” to how to be successful in my career choice. I have so much information for this program that`s really given me the potential to be a top candidate in whatever career field I decide to focus on in my life. Words really can`t explain all of the energy, motivation and successful people I met through this conference. I was fortunate to participate in the talent show, doing a poem and placed second. I am so happy and blessed that I was recognized as a “10” and an “Eagle” for a week and the rest of my life. Thank you Philly Young Playwrights for offering me this scholarship. This summer turned out to be the best summer of my life. Now watch me fly into GREATNESS!
Adam Goldberg talks to the Jewish Exponent about the success of "The Goldbergs".
Can you find his shout out to Young Playwrights?