Lillie Lainoff was inspired to write her play Somewhere Over the Rainbow by watching two friends deal with the loss of their fathers.
"I have two friends that recently lost their fathers from accidents or non-age-related consequences," Lillie says. "It really hit hard for both of them. I wanted to write something for both of them to show them that other people were thinking of them and they didn’t have to go through it alone."
In Lillie’s play a 12 year old girl grieves for her father all over again after her workaholic mother thoughtlessly donates her teddy bear to charity. It had been a gift from her father. The two characters struggle to communicate.
In her own life Lillie is a skilled communicator and accomplished writer. "I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and it’s always been what I knew I wanted to do," she says. Lillie is currently editing a book she has written about Cinderella from the stepsisters’ point of view. "I haven’t shown the full version to my family yet," she admits. "I get nervous about letting people read my writing."
"That’s what was so great about YPT!" Lillie enthuses. "Watching the actors read your work, hearing it out loud, sharing it with others; it’s a really good experience." Lillie is a ninth grader at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School and participated in YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program in the fall of 2009.
Lillie’s other passion is fencing. She is nationally ranked in the top 30 for her age category in the US. "I’m really into girls being able to do everything that guys can do - sometimes better," she says. "I fence sabre. It’s like a duel. Lots of slashing and running forward."
Lillie recommends a similarly bold and fearless approach to writing. "Don’t second guess yourself. You just have to sit down and write and pursue it. If you really love it, then do it. You can," Lillie says. "Writing is not just for adults. Kids can do it too."