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AVPA’s Student-Written Plays Presented Through First-Ever Staged Reading

AVPA Theatre’s student-written plays were recently presented to audiences for the very first time, with much support and positive reviews from viewers. This year, the plays were showcased in a series of staged readings, rather than full productions, that were presented in previous years, on Sunday, April 21 at 1 pm and 4 pm in Room 108. The showcase featured the works of playwrights Lux Amaya, Davis Barthelman, Stella Burns, Jaden Edson, Liora Hartung, Hayden Herbst, Tobias Nagao, Nazira Paul, Sofia Pezo, and Annelise Reilman. 


Each fall, AVPA Theater offers a playwriting class to juniors and seniors, whose hard work culminates in a series of 10-minute plays. The playwriting class is taught by Mara Palma, a teaching artist with Center Theatre Group and co-director for AVPA Theater’s fall 2023 production of The Laramie Project. When asked about her opinion of the class, Palma said she believes it’s “absolutely important to explore different aspects of theater, especially the skill of self-producing”. She also said that she really enjoys teaching the class and that her favorite part is “when a writer discovers: ‘I wrote that. I can do that. I can write plays!’”


“It’s so special when I can see the spark of inspiration, the confidence ignited, and the drive to keep writing,” said Palma.


Due to the staged reading format of this project, audiences were given the opportunity to focus on the words written by the student playwrights and envision individually what a full production might look like. The Centaurian has provided a summary of each.


Senior Annelise Reilman wrote her “straight shot, 10 page long comedic argument” When The Subjects Meet about a disagreement regarding what color each school subject is, “between the physical manifestations of the school subjects”. When asked about why people should come see the plays, Reilman stated that “there is such a wide variety and you get exposed to so many different perspectives and kinds of theatrical writing.”


Junior Liora Hartung’s comedic mystery Ducktective is about duck detective “Wisequack Waddlemore, as he investigates a murder…Come with him as he unravels this mystery, investigating through bars, delis, and the streets of New York.” When asked about what they enjoyed about writing the play, Hartung said that creating the world of Ducktective became something special to them and that “writing [became] the best part of my day.”


Junior Jaden Edson wrote a beautiful fantasy romance, The Tavern Basement, about two childhood best friends whose “romantic feelings for each other come spilling out while trying to hide in a tavern basement from the rain”. Edson said they want future students who may take the class to know that “there’s no wrong way to write a play” and that students should feel confident to write about “anything you want to write about”.


Rotten Peaches by junior Stella Burns is an enlightening story of two childhood friends who drifted apart from one another as they grew up, but who coincidentally bump into each other in an abandoned house on Halloween and reconnect. Further into the story, the two friends are reminded about why they broke apart in the first place, and their meeting goes south.


Seniors Nazira Paul and Sofia Pezo’s collaboration, WGA: White Garish A**holes, was very educational yet funny, following a bisexual, Colombian woman of color who gets a writer’s job at a fictional TV studio. When the main character encounters the other writers, she is surprised that they are all straight white men who are very naive to modern culture and inclusiveness. This play told the story of a misunderstood woman trying to write in a TV show, but who gets undermined by the men.


Paranoia by senior Lux Amaya is an unnerving and comedic story about a group of high school friends who play the game Paranoia, where they take turns to flip a coin in order to reveal each other’s deepest and darkest secrets. The questions are simple at first, but later on, some real dirt and secrets are uncovered about some of the characters, which ends up damaging their already fragile teen relationships.


Senior Davis Barthelman wrote the clever and comedic play, It’s Just The Dishes, which is about Georgia, a teen girl with ADHD who is attempting to finish the dishes before her mother returns home. As she tries to complete the simple task, Georgia’s trains of thought bombard her and make it difficult for her to actually do the dishes. With the Australian narrator guiding the plot along, this play was a comedic yet dizzying masterpiece!


The Woodpin Charities by junior Tobias Nagao is a story about the struggles of a man, Spencer, who can’t get over the loss of his murdered spouse, Jesse. Spencer’s assistant Alise tries repeatedly to assist Spencer in accepting Jesse’s death and moving on with his life, but Spencer doesn’t listen and tries to find the murderer on his own.


These amazing performances were an absolute hit, and students felt very enthusiastic about them. Future juniors and seniors can look forward to getting to write their own plays, and directing them in coming years, much like this one. This staged reading series was an amazing experience for the students.

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About the Contributors
Ella Judson
Ella Judson, Staff Writer
Hello, I’m Ella and currently a Freshman at CCHS. I joined journalism this year, and I really enjoy writing stories, both fiction and nonfiction. Other than journalism, I am also a part of AVPA Theater and work as a part of the backstage crew. My hobbies are reading, drawing, and listening to tv static during my free time. My favorite subject is English.
Gabriella Camara
Gabriella Camara, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Gabriella Camara and a Freshman at CCHS. I am a part of Journalism Club and love writing. I’m in AVPA Theatre Tech and my favorite subject is English.

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