Grade 8 Express Their Voices Through Drama

Ross eighth graders transformed themselves into talented playwrights with the help of Stony Brook Southampton’s Young Artists and Writers Project (YAWP). Through this program, they have discovered their own authentic voices and viewpoints while learning the intricacies of producing a play. The students wrote one-act plays for two actors about issues relevant and appropriate to their age group.

Sponsored by the university’s MFA in Writing and Literature Program, YAWP sends professional writers and writing teachers into high schools and middle schools across Long Island with a variety of programs, which conclude with special projects and presentations. Over seven weeks, the teaching artists instructed Ross students on the art of writing a short play, introducing them to the elements of dramatic writing through various exercises that helped them develop ideas, characters, themes, and dialogue. They also learned about various aspects of producing a play, including set design, directing, and wardrobe.

On April 9, eighth graders Isabelle Rowe, Leila Murphy, Lucia Robinson, and Rory Gallaher presented their plays to classmates, teachers, and parents in the Senior Building Lecture Hall. The plays ranged from dramatic subjects, like a son coming to terms with the fact that his mother is dying, to comedic ones, like when two people are stuck in a room and one of them is less than sane.

Meanwhile, a panel of experts at YAWP selected the works of Sami Habib, Amanda Mintz, and Caitlin Aripotch to be performed at Stony Brook Southampton on Friday, April 12, at 11am and Saturday, April 13, at 7pm in the Avram Theater. Sami’s play explores a budding friendship as two performers, who rarely have to do with each other at school, talk about the challenge of performing while waiting off-stage. Amanda’s play takes a fun turn when a girl embarks on a quest to find a vampire to be her boyfriend. Lastly, Caitlin’s play focuses on two friends on a sleepover who should be doing homework, but instead end up in a fight. They reveal grudges and resentments, but eventually become better friends.

Join us in watching these plays performed in Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Theater on Saturday, April 13, at 7pm.