From: Elizabeth Andrews []
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 6:03 AM
To: Elizabeth Andrews
Subject: Wire March 2008 - Meet Engedasew Menkir
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New Play Festival
Kennedy Center Premiere
Sophie Reveal: Promising Playwright
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Issue: # 18 March 2008

New Play Festival 2008

  • Go on an adventure to the chocolate factory...
  • Expose the truth behind family troubles...
  • Protect all you hold dear...
  • Catch the world's most famous spy...
  • Break through language barriers...
  • Survive one day as a high school student...

New Play Festival 2008

Friday, March 14
at 7:30 p.m.
Washington DC Jewish Community Center
1529 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Admission is FREE!
Join us a week from today for the New Play Festival.
For more about the New Play Festival click here.
CGW Actor Visit
The new play Chasing George Washington: A White House Adventure written by Karen Zacarias with help from Young Playwrights from Capitol City Public Charter School is making waves in Washington even before it officially opens at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
On Wednesday, February 20th, the actors and director of the play visited with the student writers at Capitol City Public Charter School, taking time to get to know each other, play games and learn about the students' perspectives.
Today, Friday March 7th, President George W. Bush and the White House Staff will enjoy a private performance of the play.
Tomorrow the play will officially open at the Kennedy Center and the Young Playwrights who helped to create it will be on hand to witness the magic and receive recognition for their work.
Promising Playwright

"It's really hard for a person to realize the truly precious things in life as they are living it. Sometimes it is not until you're about to lose everything, not until that moment when it all becomes clear," says Engedasew Menkir.  He is speaking of a key moment from his play Puzzle. 


As a student who immigrated from Adis Ababa, Ethiopia only three years ago Enge has had the opportunity to consider what really matters from multiple perspectives.  He is currently a student in the 11th grade at Bell Multicultural High School.


"Washington is different than I thought it would be.  Once I knew more about the issues that were going on in America I found it surprising," he says.


For example, Enge says that he identified teenage pregnancy as a problem in Ethiopia but in the United States "it is off the charts."


"In Ethiopia I knew everyone in my community. If something happened ten or fifteen blocks away we would be there because we knew those people. Here I live in an apartment building and I do not even know my neighbors," Enge laments.


Moving to the US led Enge to focus more on his studies. "When I got here I realized that if I can do the task I've been assigned, then I can be the person I want to be," Enge says.  He adds, "I never thought in a million years when I was living in Ethiopia that I could write a nineteen page play, in English!! But I allowed myself to do it. I believed in myself."


Enge's play Puzzle is a sophisticated tale of a CIA agent in the days leading up to September 11th, 2001.  The main character struggles to manage the demands of his country with his role as a father and a husband.  "I'm a very big fan of 24," Enge admits. The pacing and detail of his play reveal his close study of that television show.  "I love films," Enge says, "but I do think that Hollywood culture has a bad affect on kids."


Enge hopes to attend George Mason University and settle one day in Sweden or Ethiopia to have a family.   His play Puzzle will be featured at next Friday's 

New Play Festival.


Our Thanks
Leadership support of the In-School Playwriting Program is Targetprovided by the Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs and 
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