In honor of Girls Write Out! and the voices of young women everywhere, YPT’s Amazing Alumnae for October, 2015 are three of our Girls Write Out! playwrights: Nevaeh Edwards, Nora Foster and Kaitlyn Murphy!
Nevaeh is in seventh grade at Jefferson Middle School , Nora is a junior at Yorktown High School and Kaitlyn is a freshman at Cardozo Education Campus. All three young playwrights wrote their plays in YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program.
What follows are excerpts from the talkback after Girls Write Out!, featuring all three playwrights and moderated by YPT Founding Artistic Director Karen Zacarías. Enjoy!
Karen: What was it like seeing your play produced onstage just now?
Kaitlyn: For my play, only two pieces were played, the first monologue and the ending monologue. It was really cool to see my play, because you had to connect or make a story based on the two things that were given. ...I had someone come up to me and say “It was great! I loved it! It was relatable.” So that effect based on only the two pieces that it was given was really cool. It makes me happy.
Nora: I think it’s just surreal. It’s something that I’ve never experienced...something that I made and created onstage for all these people to see. It’s really different, but it’s fun. I like it.
Karen: Why were there so many roles for girls [in your plays]?
Nevaeh: Since this program is all about female empowerment, we have a lot of strong female characters portraying our people, our characters, and then we have this one male role that kinda sticks out. But the ladies overall take power.
Kaitlyn: I also think that because the plays were written by females we also have our own piece. We put ourselves into our plays. It really gives you a perspective on what we’re about.
Nora: I agree. There are so many strong female characters. That’s what we all wrote about, what we thought about. Just strong females.
Karen: For me as a playwright, it was remarkable to see women taking over the world, liberating women that are already in fairy tales. ...It was a testament to why we need diversity in our playwrights, because someone will hear the story from a different perspective. And hearing the girl power, seeing these girls change the world, it was a remarkable experience. So what’s next, ladies?
Nevaeh: I’m actually working on a book. Once again it does have female empowerment tied into the book because she’s going through all these things—of course mystical things because I’m a fairy tale writer. She goes through this portal and she meets this guy who takes control and she’s like, “No. Wait. It’s not the Sixties anymore.”
Nora: I’m not writing anything right now, but that book sounds really fun.
Kaitlyn: I’m also working on a book right now. I’m like my character. One of my characters is afraid to perform. She’s afraid to get up onstage. I’m kinda conquering that fear as I go along by writing poetry and being with One Common Unity which is like a performance troupe.
Karen: What advice do you have for [other playwrights] if they’re going to face a blank piece of paper later tonight?
Nevaeh: Don’t be afraid to say what you feel. If you feel something very strongly, speak up because like in all of these lovely plays you have the women taking control. Don’t be afraid to write what you feel and just express yourself overall. And make sure, you know, there are no spelling errors. ...Make sure you get your message on paper. Even if it’s not produced, make sure you have the confidence in what you wrote.
Nora: If you sit down and you start writing, just make sure that whatever you write isn’t for someone else, that it’s for you. It’s something that you believe in.
Kaitlyn: She said a lot. I feel like when you start writing then you start to doubt yourself. As long as you get your message you want to be on paper, don’t worry about anybody else cause it’s really you and nobody writes the same and nobody is the same. You might not get your inspiration where other people might get it from. As long as you have your own message and you portray it however you want to, then it will be magnificent because it’s something that you wrote. You should feel confident about it.
Karen: I think the world would be a better place if we learned to express ourselves the way you guys did tonight. How has it been at school since this has started happening to you guys?
Nevaeh: I actually just started my own theater club because I didn’t think we had enough things for kids who don’t like sports. Kids need something to help them express themselves. Kids who aren’t athletic need to have something for them which we don’t really have at our school. And me not being athletic at all whatsoever, I just felt like we needed something like that for kids to express themselves and be playwrights or movie producers or something like that...a place for you to have your ups and downs or whatever, there is a safe place for you to come to and express your feelings.
Nora: Ever since [being produced] I’ve just felt more confident in my writing. I take harder English classes because I feel I can push myself farther because I feel that my writing has been performed before. It’s just easier.
Kaitlyn: At my school YPT still comes and they work with the lower grades. ...It’s really interesting because you get to tell them about the creative process. I just give them the same advice: Focus on you and what you’re writing, and no matter what, it’s going to be amazing because you wrote it.
Karen: Ladies, I just want you to take a look around the room. I want you to look at the amazing actors that were here. I want you to look at the directors. ...You are how this all started. You are the spark that starts all of this. ...Anything else you’d like to say to this wonderful audience before we say goodnight?
Nevaeh: [What] I want to say to anyone in the crowd is to believe in yourself and speak your mind. ...You should always speak your mind no matter what other people say. And be yourself most definitely. Even before I came up here my sister told me to take my glasses off and I’m like “No, I’m gonna keep them.”
Kaitlyn: I’m glad you enjoyed the plays! Goodnight!