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

October Heat by Xuan Ly

“It’s like a microwave in there,” Heather exclaimed gesturing towards her office. The main classroom is no different. Within the first months of school, the Creative Writing room became notorious for the heat trapped inside; so being stuck in the there for three hours everyday isn’t always pleasant. San Francisco’s unorthodox October heat also added to the issue. Not only has the autumn sun kept us cooking in the Creative Writing “microwave” for most of the school year, but the collateral damage of the recent wildfires, turning North California into dust, gave us no choice but to keep the doors closed.

Over the past week, the Northern California fires have been unstoppable, spreading smoke and ash into the atmosphere that blew down the coast of California. This has affected the quality of San Francisco’s (among other cities) air, turning the condition to “Code Red: Unhealthy” in a matter of days. At school, many students began wearing facemasks and were heavily advised to stay inside. This meant no one dared to open the back door of the CW room, even when it became unbearably hot.

Despite the lingering heat and suffocating atmosphere, CW continued to prepare for our upcoming fall showcase: Metamorphosis. In groups of four, we would read and revise each other’s work through a process called workshopping. We repeated this process for three long days, sculpting our pieces to the best it could be. Then all thirty of us practiced performing our piece in front of the Spoken Arts director, Rahman. After listening to each performance, he would give tips on how to improve our presentation.

Most afternoons, the smoke would cause the sun to glow red, similar to the fluorescent color of lava. “The world is ending!” students screamed as they studied the sun and dodged floating ashes. As the radiating orb began to set in the evening, magnificent shades of purple, pink, and orange would illuminate the sky like a light show, changing as darkness loomed above. Before the sun disappeared, many people were able to snap photos of the beautiful evening because of the warm October air. Even though us San Franciscans aren’t used to weather over sixty-five degrees, it was nice to see something other than blankets of gray fog.

Xuan Ly, class of 2021