SOLANA BEACH – For five young playwrights, it’s the chance “to be” writer, actor, director and producer of their original plays for the 11th annual Student One Acts festival at the North Coast Repertory Theatre.
Each of the plays was selected by the Theatre’s education committee, which runs the North Coast Rep’s theatre school.
Jacob Surousky, 13, wrote his play “Only in Shakespeare” after attending a Shakespeare study earlier in the year.
“Whenever I heard whatever happens in Shakespeare, like women dressing up as men and being wooed by women, it’s just didn’t make any logical sense to me…and I decided to write a play about it,” he said. This is his second produced play.
Audrey Hebert, 12, hopes to become a novelist at some point, but for now she is working on her latest play “Mind Your Own Business.” “It’s a comedy,” she said. “It’s not really a deep psychological thriller.”
This is her second original play, but her first to be produced. The first play she wrote was about a hamster, which she did while in the fifth grade.
She didn’t know where her inspiration came from when writing “Mind Your Own Business,” which is about a young girl who sets out to destroy bran muffins, who learns that mind reading isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and who learns the perils of babysitting.
“I guess I just got ideas from a lot of places,” she said. “I never really know where my ideas come from, they just kind of pop in my head.”
People should come out to see the plays to show support to young writers, explained Hebert.
“If people start writing (plays) when they’re young, they’re more likely to be a writer when they’re older, and, I think, the world can never have too many writers. A lot of kids really like writing, but they never really do it outside of school, so I think it’s good to encourage them.”
Phillip Magin, 12, came to the program, bringing with him an interest in making up stories. His play “Rap-Bot,” is a short comedy and it’s the first play he’s ever written. He wrote the play about two students creating a robot for a science fair in four days.
“It’s not very deep, or anything, it’s kind of more for laughs,” he said.
He added that people ought to come and be entertained at what a bunch of people around their age are doing on stage.
Arielle Algaze, 13, said her favorite part of producing her play has been watching how the actors work out in life what she had put on the page. Her play, “The Mind’s Fickle Grasp” is about a young girl discovering the haunting similarities in her life and the play she is acting in, Shakespeare’s “King Lear.”
Also featuring her play, “Two Lies and a Truth,” is Sarah Norton.
The play explores whether or not the “truth always sets one free.”
The young playwrights have been rehearsing their plays since early July, with performances beginning Aug. 8.
Matt Thompson, the theatre’s educational director, said that having the students participate in every facet of the plays production gives them a larger focus in terms of theatre in general. “Honestly, it’s great for the parents and for the kids…plus it’s about building self-esteem and working in an ensemble.”
The whole program started in 1984 when the theatre’s founders wanted to create a way to educate the community about theatre, explained Thompson. The program is year-round and accepts students ages 7 to 17 and at all levels of theatre experience.
“We have such incredible actors here,” Surovsky said. “Come to experience the things, like high school plays and middle school plays and theatre school plays, there’s so much talent here that it’s always so undiscovered because nobody takes the chance to look,” Surovsky said.
The plays begin Aug. 8 and run through Aug. 10. For tickets and show times, visit northcoastrep.org.