Thespians participate in first-ever Young Playwrights in Action


Photo credit: Nicki Rosenberg

Drama Queens Ava Vinton ’20, Livia Blum ’19 and Caroline Ediger ’19 sit at the Magicoplis theater while performing “The Questionnaire.” In the humorous scene, a girl administers a test to her best friend’s new partner to ensure that the match is suitable.

The lights dimmed, the curtain opened and the Drama Queens entered the stage to perform monologues written by high schoolers around Los Angeles. On the night of April 16, Magicopolis Theater held the first ever Young Playwrights in Action, a showcase created by senior Shira Goldstein.

Shira Goldstein has been involved in Archer theater productions since ninth grade. This year, she said she wanted to show the importance and value of youth speaking their truth through theater. Although she is a senior, she hopes that the Drama Queens will continue Young Playwrights in Action for years to come.

“I didn’t know if anyone was going to submit, but we got a variety of so many schools together. Reading through all of them was really cool,” Goldstein said. “[Monday night] was our dress rehearsal, and it was really fulfilling to me because the Drama Queens put so much work into this whole night.”

Junior Kylan Gould played Natalie in the play “A Question of Decency.” The scene took place at a boarding school the 1930s when the LGBTQ+ community was not accepted. In this scene, her character was questioned by the head of school about a relationship between two schoolgirls.

“Its a really unique and cool event because we are showcasing the works of teenage playwrights. We are really getting their works out there, not just re-doing the works that have already been published,” Gould said. “Since it was open submission, we are getting a diversity of different stories and getting to explore those.”

Freshman Ainsley Sweeney played a coffee shop employee on the day of 9/11. Although the preparation was “rushed” due to time constraints, she said it was an “amazing” experience.

“This character, specifically, has given me a lot more to work on acting-wise and I have learned a lot. Getting ready has been a bonding experience among the cast,” Sweeney said.

Students were in the audience as well as being onstage. Junior Lauren Evans-Katz went to the Young Playwrights in Action. Her favorite scene, “Bubby’s Balls,” was centered around a stereotypical Jewish grandma who wanted to open a matzah ball shop. The scene was written by junior Stella Gregg.

“I think the best part of the Young Playwrights in Action performance was getting to see work written, performed and directed by students themselves. Beyond the acting, everyone’s writing was incredible and went beyond my expectations,” Evans-Katz said. “I particularly enjoyed hearing monologues students outside of the theater program had written and seeing the Drama Queens interact outside of the theater community.

There were over 45 submissions to the Young Playwrights in Action.

“It is really important to have youth’s voices heard because they are the future,” Goldstein said. “Theater, in my opinion, is the most powerful way to show that to the world. I wanted to create this and get all different kids in Los Angeles and different perspectives together and read their work.”