Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE recognizes budding playwrights and gives them a chance to see their work on stage through the Young Playwrights Festival, an annual competition that welcomes student playwrights around the state to submit their original works.
This year’s selection of plays were about birds, the blues, stars, sandwiches, and socks. One of the lucky playwrights (out of 400 entries) to see their words on stage was Phoebe Taylor, a first grader at Roland Park Country School. We had the esteemed pleasure of speaking with her about her play, Brightly and Jade, the inspiration and what’s next!
What’s the topic/focus of your play?
My play is about a star named Brightly and a moon named Jade who become friends and take on an evil villain named Tire. It is also about bravery and friendship. It shows you that being a good friend makes the world better. It also shows that sometimes it’s hard to have courage, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try.
What made you choose that topic/focus?
I wanted to write about the meaning of my name, which means “brilliant and shining” – like a star and my mom’s name, Cynthia, which means “of the moon”. I like stories about friends. My favorite books to read are from the Rainbow Magic series about 2 friends who are brave. It only takes me a couple of hours to read them now. I also like stories about bravery. Sometimes people don’t try things when they are afraid but you just have to do it.
I thought making the villain a tire was SO SILLY! I couldn’t stop laughing. I knew that would make everyone laugh. He was mean at first, but the girls show him how to be a good person. No one ever showed him how. In my play, Brightly told Tire that she would be his friend even though he stole all of the others stars from the sky and locked them away. My play shows that you can give people a second chance.
What was the hardest part about writing your play?
The hardest part was thinking of the words I was going to use and figuring out how the characters would act.
How did it feel to see your work on stage?
I felt shy at first, but when the play began I felt excited. I was really, really proud of myself.
Describe your actors.
I like the actors who were cast by CENTERSTAGE. The narrator read my story just the way I would have. The actor who played Tire was super funny. He made me fall down laughing. The actor who played Brightly was sweet and shy. The actor who played Jade was such a good dancer. She made being brave look easy. That is what I wanted the audience to see most of all. They were perfect.
What’s your favorite play?
I have seen many plays at my school, and even in New York on Broadway. My favorite play is “Wicked” which I saw in Baltimore. It’s kind of like mine because it is about learning how to be a friend. My favorite part was the “toss, toss” scene. It was so funny.
How do you feel about the overall experience?
I would like to say that I loved how my play turned out. My director, Gavin, presented it just the way I wanted and I didn’t have to make any changes at all. I’m proud of myself and can’t wait to attend the festival next year.
For information about the Young Playwrights Festival, contact CENTERSTAGE at 410.332.0033.