Collaborating with accomplished playwrights
A group of Middle Schoolers collaborates with some accomplished (Lab parent) playwrights as they try their hand at the genre. It's not part of a class, but a seminar period that allows time for student-driven learning. Hearing students talk about writing or knowing they had done some on their, the theatre arts teacher invites professionals to help guide the way:
- Zayd Dohrn, '95, is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who teaches in the MFA program in writing for the stage and screen at Northwestern University. His full-length plays include The Profane (Playwrights Horizons), and he has written screenplays and developed television series at HBO, Showtime, and others.
- Kestutis Nakas is a professor of theatre at Roosevelt University and a playwright, author, performer, and director whose work has been presented at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, and other theatres.
- Aline Lathrop Glick's work has been produced or developed at numerous theatres both in Chicago and across the country, including Chicago Dramatists, Artistic Home, Circle Theater, American Theatre Company, Northwestern University, Theatre Seven, and Stage Left Theatre.
With the help of the visiting playwrights, the students start to unpack their ideas.
Mr. Dohrn asks the students to really think about what their characters want. Mr. Nakas has the students create characters—one based on a thing the student loves and one that the student fears. As each writer offers prompts, the students become more and more comfortable sharing their work with one another and connecting over their common interest.