Jamesville-DeWitt High School had a great showing of talent in the first round of the Syracuse Stage Young Playwrights Festival. Each contestant wrote a ten-page play with a maximum of four characters. While many plays submitted, only a few became quarterfinalists, and even fewer went on to become semifinalists. 

The semifinalists of this competition were sophomores Meghan Culligan, for her play “Her Genuine Fraud,” Connie Zhang, for her play “I am Your Android,” Morgan Moracco, for her play “Under the Surface,” Anka Chiorini, for her play “A Deeply Disturbing Dive into the Family Dynamics of a Teen Rom-Com,” as well as a play she co-wrote with sophomore Madie Phillips, titled “Departure, Arrival, and Everything in Between,” Ebunolua Oguntola, for her play “Circles,” Bohdin Bright, for his play “Meta,” Maci Stewart and Amelia Chandler, for their co-written play “The Notes,” and Adelaide Anello, for her play “Conversations.” Along with these sophomores, junior David Scibilia was named a semifinalist for his play “iShirt”.

The semifinalists were able to attend a workshop where their plays were read to them by actors from Syracuse Stage. They also were given feedback on how they could make their plays better. Some of the playwrights described what it felt like to have actual actors read their plays out loud. “It made me smile and laugh at times because it’s so fascinating when you realize in that moment, the things they are professionally reading are what you yourself put the time and effort in to write,” said Zhang. Others described it as awkward to hear it out loud rather than just in their head reading it to themselves. Many of the playwrights also were appreciative of the feedback they were given when their plays were read aloud. “I found the feedback that the judges from Syracuse Stage gave very helpful. They gave very straightforward advice and critiques. I found it extremely helpful to hear how each judge perceived the play. The criticism was clear and very constructive, which I appreciated a lot,” said Moracco. 

The following students were awarded a quarterfinalist status: sophomores Gannon Kessler, Connie Zhang, Casey Sullivan, John Clinton, Hailey Webber, Kai Brutsaert, Tara Pollock, Luke Cantone, Lily Dovciak, Adrianna Giruzzi, and Joanna Cooper. Along with these sophomores, one junior, Rebecca Fitzgerald, was named a quarterfinalist as well. 

Many of the contestants were sophomores at J-DHS because many of the Honors English students were given the task of writing a ten-page play for class. For one contestant though, this wasn’t the first time he entered the competition. Junior David Scibilia had entered his play, “iShirt,” into the competition last year, but was not awarded any specific award. “I decided to enter the competition because I honestly had nothing to lose. I had worked on my play from sophomore year a little bit since it lost last year, so I decided to enter it again,” said Scibilia. He, as well, had been given the assignment to write a ten-page play his sophomore year. He decided to enter the competition this year once again to see if his play would be received better, and it definitely was.

The Syracuse Stage Young Playwrights Festival has been a time for J-DHS students to shine, and this year they definitely have shown how much talent J-D has. The finalists of the competition will be announced shortly and we’ll see what happens for these playwrights from there.

Nora Gross is a junior this year and is very excited to be co-editing the culture section. Nora loves all things surrounding fashion, music, and films.