Student’s ‘Words’ earn a place on stage


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Freshman Ava Weidensall is on her way to success writing plays.

Abby Fowler and Sarah Watkins

Forgetting about a major project usually means trouble, but for freshman Ava Weidensall it was just one step on the way to success.

During a gifted competition in eighth grade, Weidensall found a poster calling young writers to write a one-act play for City Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival.

“I had always been slightly interested in writing and theater, but this opportunity allowed me to explore my interest,” Weidensall said.

She found out about the contest in the middle of last winter, but ended up putting it off and then quickly writing the entire play within a month.

“I just lost interest and motivation to write, until some of my friends encouraged me to finish the play, so I wrote it in a month before the deadline,” Weidensall said.

The Young Playwrights Contest takes in about 400 submissions from students grades 7-12. Students are required to write a one-act play with a structured and developed plot with varying characters.

“My play is called Words, and it is about the process of learning that people change and that acceptance that should come with it,” Weidensall said.

The idea originally came from an argument among Weidensall and her friends about how change is a difficult thing to cope with. Weidensall observed how strongly her friends felt about this subject, and how they never could come to a middle ground.

The judges pick a total of six plays from the middle school and high school writers.

“As finalists, we were able to attend the revision rehearsals over the summer, where we staged and made slight adjustments to the story,” Weidensall said.

The director and other staff of the City Theatre helped make slight changes and would ask questions or make suggestive edits, but were never overbearing or controlling, Weidensall said.

Weidensall even got to sit in on auditions and help pick who was going to be in her play.

“It was a really interesting experience to have, and I loved being able to slowly see my play come to full fruition,” Weidensall said.

The plays were performed in late October at City Theatre.

“It was so surreal seeing professionals play my characters and my story exactly how I imagined it,” Weidensall said.

Freshman Stephany Ochs, one of Weidsall’s friends, went to City Theatre to watch the play come to life.

“I was really proud of her. She had been talking about it a lot and it was interesting to see it finally on stage,” Ochs said.