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Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

New Works, student written plays hit Lincoln’s stage once again

Onika Darling
Lincoln’s drama department released their 20th annual New Works, “Score” directed by director Matthew B. Zrebski. The student-written plays run from Feb. 22-24 and Feb. 29-Mar. 2 2024 in the black box. Tickets prices range from $7-$20.

This year’s New Works was written by four talented playwrights, Elena Valdovinos, Frankie Diller-Beardsley, Emilia Cafiso and Camilla Correani. The production titled “Score” follows four interrelated stories: a naturalistic drama, a comedy, a psychological thriller, and a solo show brought together into one production. 

During the spring of last year, drama students were visited by Matthew B. Zrebski who taught a playwriting unit, evoking passion in many students including this year’s playwrights. 

Senior and playwright Elena Valdovinos emphasized the importance of giving students the opportunity to write plays. 

“I think it’s important for young artists to feel empowered and to feel like they have a voice and that voice is important, especially in theater,” said Valdovinos. “[New Works] is just a unique, unheard of opportunity, and the fact that it’s such a long standing tradition at Lincoln is super cool since it goes back twenty years” 

Sophomore Sydney Jordan plays “Girl” in the play titled “Report” by Emilia Cafiso. Jordan was inspired by performing in a play written by a fellow student.

“I think a play is something so special because not only are you writing this wonderful piece of literature, but you can see it on stage,” said Jordan. “It is so important to see what you’ve done right in front of you and how someone interprets that.”

Not only do these plays allow student playwrights to explore their passions, but they give the actors a feeling of closeness with the plays. 

Senior Emerson Quarles, who acts in a comedic satire written by Elena Valdovinos, explains the sentiment behind working on a play written by one of their peers instead of plays written by professionals. 

“I think it’s really fantastic because of that personal relationship with the playwrights. It also gives us a sense of pride in what we’re performing, it’s not [just] something that we’re bringing to life from a script,” said Quarles. “It’s all from the people we love, so I think it’s a really incredible thing to watch that come to fruition.”

Even though the process evokes passion within the writers as well as the actors, the writing process does not come without its struggles. 

Senior Frankie Diller-Beardsley, one of this year’s playwrights, explains how playwriting differs from other kinds of writing.    

Playwriting is completely different than other forms of writing like novel writing because it’s all dialogue, it’s all characters, it’s not like physical scene description. Things have to be really understandable to your audience right there coming in with no context,” said Diller-Beardsley.

Diller-Beardsley sees an improvement in her writing and feels like she’s learned new things about the art form.

“I’d say it made me a better writer because it helped me focus on the emotional part of the story rather than all the bells and whistles that some other forms of writing have and it was also really fun to collaborate with the three other writers,” said Diller-Beardsley.

While Diller-Beardsley felt herself grow as a writer, Valdovinos said the experience of writing a play led her to grow as a person. 

“I feel like I’ve grown in the sense that now I’m more appreciative of playwrights and what kind of work goes into that career and a professional environment. It was so much more fulfilling than I thought it could be,” said Valdovinos. “Watching actors do my show fills me with so much pride and joy because you see how it’s spreading joy and laughter. That’s always what I, as an artist, hope to bring to [every] community.”

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Onika Darling
Onika Darling, Reporter
Onika is a junior this year. She is excited to write articles and conduct interviews, and her favorite part of being on the paper is writing sports articles.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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