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

Cutting Ball by Isaac Schott-Rosenfield

Towards the end of last year, I received the opportunity to be an assistant/student in playwright Andrew Saito’s masterclasses at the Cutting Ball Theatre. The subject was dream theatre. In-between my urgent managements of water pitchers and printers (another education of a very different type), I wrote my short play, possessed by the lively and exacting spirit of both the instruction and genre.

A while later, the Cutting Ball Theatre asked to include my play in their fall show of short Avant-Garde drama. CW artist-in-residence Isaiah Dufort stepped in to direct it. Working in Isaiah’s writerly apartment to restructure my implausible stage directions into something doable, discussing inflection with an attentive actor; I was surprised and moved by the seriousness and vigor which was afforded my work.

On the stage, I observed the difference between my words and their performance, changed by the foreign influence of actors. My detailed, poetic stage directions had to lose their language, had to become visual and actual, rendered in flesh and contour. Theatre entails compromise—between the author and the actor; between the written and the visual. Quite different from the self-contained and thoroughly controlled realm of my usual oeuvre in poetry.

And so while I do not imagine I will become foremost a playwright, acting as one has offered new understanding of dimension and immediacy.

Isaac Schott-Rosenfield, class of 2017

Film Workshop by Davis DuBose-Marler

Every Sunday morning, I drag myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of nine thirty and get ready for the seven and a half hour time commitment otherwise known as “Film Workshop,” taught by Ronald Chase and mentored by SotA artists-in-residence Jesse Filipko and Isaiah Dufort (the Great).

The workload and demand for quality are high. Yes, Film Workshop can be stressful at times and has definitely given me nightmares about 3D uses of space and visual concepts, but it has also provided with me with a new understanding not only of film and how to analyze it, but also with a new way to see works of literature. Sure, the visual aspects don’t really apply, but as far as critique goes, the methods are very similar. There’s still form versus content to consider, as well as the pacing and subject matter.

As much sleep, hair, and sanity as I’ve lost through the workshop, getting to work with so many young artists from their different backgrounds has been a great experience for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a high pain tolerance and/or a passion for new artistic experiences.

Davis DuBose-Marler, class of 2017

The Mentor(s) by Clare Sabry

Today was MLK day so school was not in session. Thus I had time to mull over what I wanted to write for this blog post, and somehow landed on the subject of mentoring. All of us in Creative Writing know how great Heather, Maia, and Isaiah are as mentors. They lead us through thick and thin in our art and help us to create and improve and learn about so many things. They teach me like my middle school geometry teacher never could (or perhaps never tried to) in a way that truly makes an impact.

I’ve spent now more than two and a half years with these people, but sometimes it takes stepping back and reflecting to realize how much they have influenced who I have become. Now I wouldn’t say I am much of a playwright, or that I would gladly write a book of poetry, but dabbling in and traversing these arts through writing, reading, watching, and listening, has given me a stronger understanding of how I write and how I can improve while still retaining my own voice.

It’s a humbling experience, one that I have discussed with many of my peers, because no matter how far we have come, there is still more to achieve, more strange surrealist ballads from Maia, or absurdist films from Isaiah or another of Heather’s never-ending supply of books. I am more than halfway through High School, but I can’t see the end of my Creative Writing journey. I know that the mentors I have come to know and the friends I have come to make will surround me for much longer than four years of secondary education.

Clare Sabry, class of 2017

(I Wanna Take You to a) Play (Bar)

‘Aight, here are the long-awaited behind-the-scenes photos.

The Girl Who Cried Tortoise

Now there’s a guy that looks good on his hands and knees.

Mommy Hazel with Hammer Baby

Maxine and Johnny (and Jonathan)

Constructive Criticism

My Favorite Raccoon

Raccoon ft. Giorgia

Raccoon ft. Giorgia

Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes videos, for an in-depth look at CW’s creative process and waffles.