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

Jack Bartlett - Promising Playwright, September 2015

Uncommon Sense For The Win

“All you need to do is practice, and you can become anything.”

Jack Bartlett’s imagination will not be restrained. The wildly enthusiastic fifth grader, whose infectious energy is matched only by his profound intelligence, revels in the “infinite possibilities of the human brain” and the worlds it can create.

As a fourth grader at Bancroft Elementary School, Jack took part in YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program and wrote a play about a zombie warlord laying siege to a medieval kingdom. Now continuing his playwriting study in our After-School Program at Sitar Arts Center, he is considering bringing the zombie warlord back in his next play—to the 25th century, with a legion of zombie cyborg minions battling the human army of self-aware cyborg tanks.

“My other idea is five times crazier,” he says, before diving into the tale of a pig named Gizmo that wants to be a unicorn, a witch who turns his castle into cheese and a flying squid that saves the day. “And then,” he continues, “the evil Common Sense comes. It wants everything to be common...and you know what’s the worst part about Common Sense? He’s a regular human being!”

This notion, in many ways, seems to encapsulate Jack’s world view. He adores the human brain, likes math because “it’s the same platform no matter what language you’re in” and once designed a ping-pong game where the loser gets stomped by Godzilla. Common Sense is the enemy because it restricts what is possible, keeps the mind from truly taking flight. “If you think like Common Sense,” he says, “then you are Common Sense.”

As Jack’s Uncommon Sense develops, we are overjoyed to know that playwriting will continue to play a huge role. “I want to be a playwright when I grow up, and I’m in YPT now learning how,” he says. We can’t wait to teach him more about the craft, and learn from him more about the limitlessness of the human imagination!

He does make some concessions to Common Sense, though, and understands that there are limitations in staging his play: “We’ll just have to pretend that the squid is flying, I guess.”