Young Playwrights' Theater inspires young
people to realize the power of their own voices.



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De'Vanti Shouff
Promising Playwright, October 2009

"You can be the best, but there’s always someone better." 

This line is spoken by both the hero and the villain in De’Vanti Shouff’s play The Other Side of the Mirror.  De’Vanti’s play was selected from among his peers to represent Bell Multicultural High school at the 2009 New Play Festival. The Other Side of the Mirror presents a hero’s fall in a noir style.
 
"I like the old black and white detective films," De’Vanti says. "Sometimes you don’t know who the real protagonist is until you get to the very end."
 
De’Vanti’s play is similarly mysterious, and he deftly weaves the theatrical elements together to heighten the conflict in the final moments, even suggesting that Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata" be played. "I thought that song had a sad tone, and I wanted to suggest to the audience that something sad was about to happen," De’Vanti explains. 
 
De’Vanti’s play was presented at the New Play Festival. "I thought it was awesome," he enthuses. "I didn’t think it would come together as well as it did. I was worried about the ending."
 
Now De’Vanti is a senior at Bell and looking forward to college.  He would like to study architecture or engineering at Tuskegee, Tufts, NYU or the University of Wisconsin. He serves on Bell’s Senior Committee and is a member of the Young Playwrights’ Workshop
 
De’Vanti is also one of the first students to be a part of YPT’s new Student Ambassadors program. Along with five other high school students from Bell, Banneker and Wilson, De’Vanti is an official spokesperson for Young Playwrights’ Theater. Recently, he worked with his fellow Ambassadors to greet guests and ushers at New Writers Now! Dying for Respect. "It was pretty cool," De’Vanti says. "I liked encouraging other people to give us their opinions on gang violence."
 
De’Vanti’s approach to public speaking is cool and collected.  "I spoke in front of the DC Council when I was in Junior High," he says blithely. "They were going to tear down Jefferson Junior High and a group of us went to the government to ask them to reconsider. I was the one who spoke on camera."
 
You can look forward to De’Vanti’s speaking at a future YPT event. "Whatever topic I get to speak on, I’m going to revamp it in a way that nobody else will," he declares. 
 
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