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BY: Peter Crimmins for WHYY
On Saturday, Philadelphia Young Playwrights will stage dramatic readings of plays by young authors in its Paula Vogel Mentorship Program. Five promising young writers were matched with an established playwright for a year to write a workable script.
All are in high school, except for Ethan Brunton, 20, a student at Montgomery County Community College.
His play, "Hades and Persephone: Letters from Hell and Back," is about the relationship between the Greek god of the underworld and his young bride.
Brunton wrote it with sympathy for the devil.
"He's by the book, he's reasonable, he holds true to his deals, he loves his wife," said Brunton. "The most you can get out of him as being an angry guy is because some of the people he has to work with agitate him."
Brunton lives with autism. He had been writing short plays through a program for adults on the spectrum at Theatre Horizon in Norristown. He was approached by Philadelphia Young Playwrights to take on a more ambitious writing project through its mentorship program.
Mindy Early, Director for Education and Program Services, shares her reflection and revision tips following the How I Learned to Write Festival….
As I mentioned in my last post, I had the absolute pleasure and honor of directing a play by an amazing young playwright for the How I Learned to Write Festival, a program created by Philadelphia Young Playwrights. During the weeklong process, I can only hope this talented young writer learned as much from me as I did from her. That’s my favorite part of new play development – through the process of bringing a new play to life, everyone in the room learns about the art form from one another.
The conversations both inside and outside the rehearsal room are great for remembering, too. As we tackle a world that’s never existed before and we explore how best to bring that world to life, we think back. To past experiences, to past lessons, and to past mentors, all which guided us at one time or another. When we offer these kernels of wisdom from the past to our fellow artists in the present, we honor our mentors by paying their mentorship forward.
For me, the How I Learn to Write Festival was rich in remembering. In particular, I remembered two long-forgotten revision prompts from two of my greatest mentors. I was thrilled that one of the prompts was of great help to my young playwright, and I hope that all of the prompts I share below will help any writers out there who are wrestling with revision.
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By: PVMP Fellow Emma O.
Last weekend I went on a mini road trip to meet with my mentor, Marcus Gardley, and see two of his plays. My dad and I drove to Brooklyn on Friday and I had dinner with Marcus. We talked about my play and playwriting in general. He gave me the best piece of writing advice I have received so far in my life. He told me that instead of adding more and more different ideas to my play to make it complicated and give it depth, I should keep telling the same story over and over and it will get deeper. It was exactly what I needed to hear and was extremely helpful in looking at the play I’m working on now, which had way too much going on masking the point I was trying to make. Meeting with Marcus was instrumental in my editing process and I’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to talk to him at this point in my revisions.