I received an announcement of a book recently published for theater for young audiences (TYA). The synopsis reads: “A historic offering from a truly exceptional year, this collection consists of 31 short plays written in collaboration between young people and acclaimed TYA playwrights during 2020/21. Filled with vitality, wit and love, the stories reflect a moment of seismic change, a moment when we lived and lost and mourned and protested and created and connected in ways unfathomable before—in ways that will forever shape our lives and the tapestry of our storytelling. The plays, written from the perspective of young people and suitable for TYA and middle/high-school performers, provide a powerful range of experiences and perspectives and can be combined for full performances or used for monologue and scene work. They are a revelatory response to this moment in time, but also to the larger question of what it means to be a young person, to inherit a world not of your making, but one that will shape your life—and be shaped by you.”
I am one of those thirty-one playwrights that worked with a young student for this book. I worked with Isabella. She is 11 years old. She wanted to comment on her fears of Covid19, her realization of racism, the protests across the county, and how she has been changed by all this. The publishers noticed that the monologue had a poetic quality. With my background in urban poetry and with Isabella’s eagerness we both re-shaped the monologue to a free-verse presentation for the stage.
It is an honor to collaborate with young writer Isabella and the team at Dramatic Publishing. What they inspired and collected in this book is the hearts and souls of our youth in a turbulent time. This is a book for not only teachers, but for everyone to learn what our impressionable youth are observing and experiencing.
I Have a Story: Plays From an Extraordinary Year can be purchased at www.DramaticPublishing.com