We asked our authors the question, "What is the best gift your writing has ever received?" Below are four of the replies...
Stacy Davidowitz offers:
I was once told a year after Hank & Gretchen was produced at Chatterton Elementary School that the students agreed my play was more fun and better than Into the Woods. I'm no Sondheim, but hearing that made me laugh!
Another great gift was receiving a t-shirt with a student designed logo of Hank & Gretchen. It was awesome!
Henry W. Kimmel enumerates three gifts he's received:
1) Pep talk from Gary Garrison
2) Workshop with Lauren Gunderson
3) Actors who are committed to the script
Kenyon Brown shares this story of gift-exchange:
At the 8th Annual Rogue Valley Ten-Minute Plays Festival in Ashland, Oregon, in 2008, my play, In View Of, was selected as one of the winning scripts. The theme for the festival was the relationship between people and their pets. My play was about two brothers, one of whom had AIDS and the other brother who checked in on him every day. Since he was at work all day, the caregiver brother took it upon himself to adopt a dog for the other brother to keep him company. On this particular day, the caregiver brother is so consumed by his imminent divorce and child custody issues, he’s oblivious to his brother’s subdued behavior. While the caregiver brother rants and raves about his marital problems, he also complains about the messy state of the house, and how the other brother doesn’t clean or pick up after the dog. He’s annoyed with his brother and the dog. However, slowly, the two brothers appear to switch roles, and we see who is really taking care of whom. When it’s revealed the dog has died, the caregiver brother is devastated. We begin to understand how much he truly loved the dog and what it represented to him.
At the time, I didn’t know the festival was a fundraiser for a local animal shelter. When I began getting tweets and texts from people who had seen the play, they told me they identified with the story. They shared their experiences about how pets had helped them during difficult times. Some people even said their pets had “saved” them. I had never received so many personal responses to one of my plays before. It was really gratifying to find out my play had touched some people deeply. It was a truly amazing gift for me!
Liz Shannon Miller tells us:
The best gift that my writing has received is all of the actors I've been able to work with. To collaborate with talented performers who bring new approaches to the material has improved my work dramatically over the years that I've been writing theater, and learning to listen to their questions and concerns has made me not just a better writer, but a better artist. Thanks so much!
Thank you to Stacy, Henry, Kenyon, and Liz for sharing these gifts with us, and our best to everyone this holiday season. Please also read "Part One" of the Writing Gifts blog to learn more about even more YouthPLAYS authors.