Trinity Rep is alive this year with new innovations, effectively changing the way that we experience theatre here in Providence. Their Three by Three in Rep, a trio of world-premiere plays, is on stage now through May. In conjunction with that ambitious undertaking, Trinity launched a competition geared towards local student playwrights. The Rep is proud to announce the winners of their inaugural Write Here, Write Now! Student Playwriting Competition.
Among the over 100 scripts submitted, four stood out. Caroline Azano, Trinity’s Education Director, says, “It’s truly an accomplishment for our winners to be chosen from such an expansive pool of quality submissions.” Two of the winning scripts were written by Providence students: Dane Christian Sadler, a senior at Wheeler, and Aaron Kaplan, a junior at Classical.
Contest judges described Sadler’s Gallup, a comedy about two mafia daughters, as “sassy” and “campy.” The senior says he was surprised to win, as he’d never before entered a writing contest. “I was completely shocked,” he says. “I was up against some very tough competitors but I figured I might as well do it for fun. Winning was an underdog moment for me.”
A self-proclaimed movie buff, this very well-spoken student says that he pulled from his favorite films for inspiration. “I am a huge Goodfellas fan, a huge Pulp Fiction fan, a huge Tarantino fan,” Sadler says enthusiastically. “I thought about the dialogue in those movies and the way in which the characters interacted. I ran with it, and it just grew.”
When asked who he’d love to see cast in his play, were it to be produced professionally, he answered – without hesitation – Marisa Tomei. “I loved her in My Cousin Vinny,” Sadler says, “and her personality in that movie is similar to that of the characters in my one-act play. She’s a perfect fit.” Being that the winning playwright is Italian himself, he had a relatively easy time crafting an Italian cast of characters.
With graduation right around the corner, Sadler is currently looking at colleges. He would love to write professionally and is thinking about studying television and film production. “I think I’ll study writing or producing – something creative. I’m a big storyteller.” Having taken Trinity’s scene study class last fall helped to stir his creativity as well. “Ms. Azano, who taught the class, couldn’t have been greater,” Sadler says. “She helped us focus on the characters, who they were, and how to really dissect that.”
Kaplan’s Offline explores society’s dependence upon social media. It is described as a “comedy-esque drama about our need to be constantly online to feel anything.” Kaplan, who blogs and uses Facebook, says that technology is neither good nor bad. “It’s a neutral thing,” he says. “It can be used for positive or it can be overused and abused.” His 10-page work explored both sides of the coin.
Kaplan, who has entered and won two writing contests in the past, enjoys writing plays and poetry. “I really love writing,” he says, “and I really loved the act of writing this particular play.” The student has been a member of the Trinity Rep Young Actors Studio for “a long time” according to Marilyn Busch, Director of Marketing at Trinity.
When asked which Hollywood actor he’d like to see cast in his play, Kaplan paused. “That’s a really good question – a tough question – but I really don’t like to cast people in my mind.” The junior hopes to go on to Brown, though he hasn’t yet decided on a course of study.
The third contest winner was Rebecca Steigelfest from Glastonbury High School in Glastonbury, CT. Her play was titled Counting Stones. An honorable mention went to Eleanor Doran from Framingham High School in Framingham, MA. Her work was called Steps. All winners receive a scholarship towards any Trinity Rep Young Actors Studio after school class, as well as 20 tickets for their school to attend a Project Discovery student matinee performance. Azano states, “We are always looking for ways to connect our classroom work to the artistic work on our stage.” Our young winners deserve a standing ovation.