Promising Playwright, January 2016
“[YPT] is awesome. It’s fun and interactive; it’s not just sitting around.”
Pablo Swisher-Gomez likes to know how things work. The fourth grader at Claremont Immersion School exudes a confidence far beyond his years, and takes his time unpacking questions like he might take apart an electric toothbrush to see it from the inside.
“I can figure out how most things work—not everything, but a lot of things,” he says.
This interest in the structure of things has led Pablo toward a career in engineering, possibly in the military or the Army Reserves. One of his favorite hobbies is to build things out of LEGOs—forts and vehicles, mostly—and he is hard at work on his next masterpiece: a “huge white fort” on “some interesting new planet,” which its human occupants are preparing to protect from invading forces.
Fittingly, Pablo’s work with YPT also focuses on a fort: the fort at Jamestown, the subject of a special Virginia history program that YPT runs at Claremont. Incorporated into the school’s larger unit on Jamestown, YPT’s program encourages students to think through the human experience of America’s first English colony: conflicts between settlers and Native Americans; the hardships people suffered in those days and more. Pablo’s monologue tells the story of Jackson, a 20 year-old soldier devoted to protecting the fort. “They have to make the fort stronger so that no one comes in,” he says. In the end, war comes to Jamestown but the settlers survive: “It’s kind of a happy ending, instead of, ‘We lost, now they’re taking over.’”
Like the Jamestown settlers, Pablo has a bright future to look forward to: days playing the snare drum in the Claremont band; afternoons riding his longboard and mountain bike; many more Star Wars movies (hopefully) as epic as The Force Awakens. His only regret? “[My family] didn’t win the Powerball.”
Our best to Promising Playwright Pablo – we look forward to seeing you build the first fort in outer space!