J-DHS Students' Plays Get Recognized

By Maddie Scullion

Have you ever written a play and wanted to see it performed by actors and actresses at Syracuse Stage? For Jamesville-DeWitt High School sophomores Kristina Bell and Ronni Merriweather, this dream is about to become a reality.  Bell and Merriweather’s plays  were two of only eight chosen out of 250 submissions. On April 28, 2015 at 7 p.m. their plays were performed in full at Syracuse Stage.

Bell’s play is titled “Meeting his Parents,” which is about a couple that have been dating for a while. The couple then decides to go to his parents house for Thanksgiving break. “A lot of strange things happen,” she said. Bell was very “shocked” when she found out her play had won. “I had read some of my friends plays and they were way better than mine, I didn’t even know what to think,” she said. She thinks her play will look good being performed because Syracuse Stage actors are so talented.

Merriweather actually wrote and submitted a poem into the competition which was selected and performed even though it wasn’t a play. The poem is titled “4 a.m.” and is about being up all night and not being able to go to sleep. Similar to Bell, Merriweather “didn’t believe” her poem was chosen as a finalist. “It was just really shocking because I have never done anything like this before, this is my first time putting my work out there,” she said. Merriweather went to see her poem performed on Syracuse Stage and said said it looked really good being performed by actor.

Although sophomores Natalie Finocchario and Katie Tzivanis’s plays will not be performed by Syracuse Stage actors and actresses, the girls were still “so excited” because their plays were chosen as semi-finalists.  Finocchario’s play is titled “The Estate Sale” and it’s about a lady who is holding an estate sale to sell some of her late husband’s belongings. The idea came to her because recently her aunt and uncle held an estate sale because they’re moving to Arizona. Tzivanis’s play is titled “Basically.” It’s about a society that has a rulebook that all women must follow if they wish to fit in.

Tzivanis and Finocchario were happy when they found out their plays had been chosen. “I was so excited (because) I put a lot of work into the play and it was great to see my hard work paid off,” said Tzivanis. Similarly, Finocchario said she was excited to find out her play had been selected because she “didn’t realize it was an alright play.”

This isn’t the first year that J-DHS has done well in the Young Playwright competition which might be due to the fact that playwrighting is encouraged in some classes. This year the

sophomores who have English teachers Joe DeChick and Joe Goldberg were required to write and submit a play into the Syracuse Stage Young Playwright Festival competition. Mr. DeChick said that last year J-DHS had two student’s plays selected as finalists. In 2014, seven out of the 16 semi finalists were J-DHS students. “That’s truly remarkable,” said Mr. DeChick.