The Fall Show by Solange Baker

When applying to Creative Writing, one of the best things you can do is go to one of the shows. It gives you a fantastic idea of what we do in our department and allows you to support a community you may one day be a part of. In eighth grade, when I was putting together my portfolio, I attended the Rebel Rebel Creative Writing Fall Show. By the end of the show I was enamored with the department. Watching the performance assured me that this was something I wanted to be a part of. Flash forward three years and I’m preparing for my seventh show with the department.

This year is the first year Creative Writing has been separated into two pathways. So for the Fall Show, Metamorphosis,  the literary and spoken arts pathways are working together. For this show I am collaborating with a fellow junior, Huck Shelf, to write a short play. The play is cut into four scenes and will be dispersed throughout the show. I haven’t ever collaborated on a piece with someone, but it’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off a person who has worked with the piece as intimately as I have. While it’s still a work in progress, Huck and I are excited to see our play produced. Something I’ve discovered about myself after having my plays produced, is that I thoroughly enjoy seeing my work put into action. It’s interesting to see how other people take on my pieces artistically and make it their own. It’s hard doing this, though. When you work so closely with something, letting it go and allowing others to take it in their own direction is difficult.

Whether you’re on the fence about applying or have been fixated on joining the Creative Writing department for years, coming to the Fall Show is an entertaining and useful experience. Who knows, maybe this time next year you’ll be preparing for the show along with the rest of us—workshopping your work, memorizing your piece, and reveling in the community you worked so hard to be a part of.

Solange Baker, class of 2019

Metamorphosis by Eva Whitney

I suppose it is customary for there to be one blog post about the show each year, and this is it. Simply, the Creative Writing Department here at The School of the Arts puts on two shows a year: a cumulative performance in Autumn and a playwriting show in Spring. Although the cumulative performance is at the beginning of the year, it is a place for students to showcase their best work. In this case, the upperclassmen have the upper hand as they have endless amounts of work to choose from, whereas the freshmen have about three pieces. We workshop tirelessly for a week, memorize, and then endure a grueling rehearsal week. I have found this process rewarding both times; it was satisfying to see it all come together.

This year’s show, titled “Metamorphosis,” was quite a change for the Creative Writing Department as it was our first show in collaboration with our new pathway, Spoken Word. None of us knew what to expect, having a show with over forty performers, a new teacher, and a group of students that we had hardly interacted with beforehand.

On the first day of rehearsal week, Creative Writing as a whole crammed into the Literary Arts room like elephants in a closet. It was our first time coming together to work toward a common goal and I looked forward to see what was in store for the coming week. The days of rehearsal week blended together: we started with a warm-up each day, then split up for the next few hours while the first act of the show ran. I was one of the last people to go on, so I found myself staying until seven or later each night. In contrast to the chaos of the afternoon, the nights in the theater were relaxing. Few tech students remained, and only a handful of Creative Writers.

Colored lights danced across the stage almost hypnotically and one night, I even found myself drifting off backstage as the ocean-themed pieces were read. During those nights I stayed late in the theater I wished more than anything to leave, but, looking back, I realize this was the most meditative time of my week.

Rehearsal week truly was an important experience. Not only did it cause me to become more familiar with my own work and hear the voices of my peers, it was a time for me to grow friendlier with my classmates of both my pathway and Spoken Word. The range was remarkable. I heard everything from pieces about the Queen of Landfill to those about self-image and discrimination. There were pieces about anxiety, shape-shifting, and a skit following a girl trying to come into herself as an alien. The audience responded with wild enthusiasm and backstage we cheered silently for each other.

The experience of the show made me appreciate the beauty in having two pathways; Spoken Word gave me an entirely new perspective into how broad the term “Creative Writing” is. Both pathways have much to teach each other.  It is clear that this is the start of our metamorphosis.

Eva Whitney, class of 2020

Stage Fright by Emily Kozhina

On October 21st, Creative Writing had its first show of the year, Stage Fright. It was the first show I had ever performed in at SOTA, and the title fit perfectly with the nervous wreck in my mind. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I had never performed my writing in front of a large crowd. The thought was utterly terrifying. I was surprised I didn’t faint at the mention of it.

I was much too proud once I printed my final copy, the one I would be performing. When I practiced with our artist-in-residence Trey Amos, I tried to swallow my fear and read it with all the confidence I could muster. Workshopping my writing and performance only helped me improve, and reminded me of the friendly community I had never had with other writers.

During rehearsal week, I had met the one and only Mr. Kwapy. After hearing his name over and over again, I finally saw him. He and Isaiah Dufort helped us with the skits, which I enjoyed watching improve over the few days we had. My piece engraved in my mind, and my skit face on, I felt almost ready for the show. It was a bit late to be almost ready, because I was backstage on Friday, listening to audience find their seats and chatter.

Then the overflow chairs came out. My first show, and we sold out! Everyone was trying to celebrate with hushed voices, hugging and helping pull out more and more chairs. I stood, frozen. I couldn’t recognize the emotion I felt. The excitement around me and the anticipation of the audience brought butterflies to my stomach. It was either that or the excessive amount of food I ate before hand.

The lights dimmed and my heart raced. The fear on my face was apparently very obvious, because students began to reassure me and smile and told me I was going to do great. I smiled back and went on stage.

I don’t know how I did on the stage personally. My mind focused on the blinding light before me as I let my body take over. And then it was over. A wave of applause. I walked off and got hugs and ‘great job’s and I tried not to cry. I wasn’t sad, or even overwhelmingly happy. I suppose it was just relief leaking through my partially blinded eyes.

My hands and throat were sore by the end. I screamed and clapped and ate candy, and basked in my overcoming of stage fright.

Emily Kozhina, class of 2020

Trey Amos, the One and Only by Abbegail Louie

Being a fan of spoken word and performance art, I was practically jumping in my seat when I learned that Creative Writing would be having an artist-in-resident from Youth Speaks. I know that I’m very vocal about my thoughts and being loud is in my genetic coding, so to learn that we were going to focus on performance writing had me geek out a little–ok a lottle. There’s something so unique about bringing writing to the stage and not just reading it, but presenting it. When starting the unit, I was pleased and, ok lowkey fangirling, over our new mentor, Trey Amos.

Last year, I went to Youth Speaks’ Bring the Noise event and Trey was the MC. Trey is one of the most positive guys I’ve met and always brings the right type of energy into our classes. He brought many Cdubs out of their comfort zone and in turn helped made our annual showcase awesome. Whether it be a class game or a writing prompt, Trey has been there to navigate the performance aspect of our writing.

And for that, on behalf of every Creative Writer, we thank you for being an amazing artist-in-resident!

Abbegail Louie, class of 2019