2019-2020 Season,  Microburst 2019

Send in the Playwrights!

by Richelle Sutton, dramaturg

It’s that time of year again! We are gearing up to bring you another fantastic Microburst festival! The playwrights and production crew have been working hard since April to develop and perform new plays for your enjoyment and consideration. (All six of the plays in this festival went through extensive script development over the summer before going into rehearsals this fall.) We are incredibly glad for the opportunity we have to produce new work by our very own students. So, to help everyone get excited for the new plays you are going to see, I have asked our fabulous playwrights to give you some information about themselves, their plays, and their Microburst experiences thus far. Here is a chance to get to know the people behind the plays!


Get to Know the Playwright, Sophia Acedo

Play Title

A Better Brother

Background info

Tempe, Arizona. Senior majoring in Theatre Arts Studies with an emphasis in Playwriting.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love watching movies, going to the movies, and catching up on TV shows. I come from a Southwest Airlines family and love to travel. My favorite destinations are New Orleans, Holland, and any ocean shore. Thanks to my super nerdy boyfriend, I play Dungeons and Dragons every week with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.

What inspired you to write this piece?

In the last couple of years, I’ve spent time with veterans and they’re some of the most important people in my life. They’ve told me a lot about their experiences and the things they struggled with. I also work with a medical team that runs veteran evaluation services. For this story, in particular, it’s inspired by true events involving my best friend from my early years in college.

What goals do you have for playwriting/theatre?

I wrote this piece while enrolled in TMA 251, Playwriting 1, and absolutely loved it. It was my first time doing anything like it and became a new way to express my thoughts and feelings. I have ambitions to continue writing and be involved in theatre to gain more experience and knowledge.

What do you love the most about this experience with Microburst? 

So far, I have loved how kind and encouraging everyone has been. I’m so honored to be part of it all. This story is very near and dear to me and I can’t wait to see how the production team interprets and presents it.

What is one thing you hope people will take away from your script?

One thing I hope audiences can take away from my story is Christ’s greatest commandment to “love one another” and an appreciation for the services our military men do. Some come out totally okay and some don’t. This story just touches on one of so many that struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more.


Get to Know the Playwright, Amity Wootan

Play Titles

No Signal, Bidet

Background info

I’m from upstate NY (the Hudson River Valley), I am 23 years old, and I am a senior in the Theatre Arts Studies program with my emphasis on playwriting.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have so many hobbies, and almost all of them are crafty. Right now I’m working on woodburning a large Tarot-inspired piece of art to display my crystal collection on. I love video games, making jewelry, and playing the harmonica.

What inspired you to write this piece?

No Signal was inspired by the single final image of the play (which has changed over drafts) of two women in a difficult situation choosing to trust each other for comfort.

Bidet was inspired by the obvious comedy of the situation that occurs. In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, what objects do you try to preserve? When you’ve lost everything else, what do you cling to?

A theme of both plays that I wanted to explore was the camaraderie and friendship that occurs between the women I am depicting. The power dynamics and experience differences between Maria and Zahra in No Signal are different from the distrust between Jackie and Tanya in Bidet, and I hope that the growth that occurs within these characters matches the growth of their relationships to each other.

What goals do you have for playwriting or theatre?

I want to be a professional creative writer. I like to joke that I’m actually making my own writing major because I take writing classes from several departments. Playwriting, in particular, is a field of writing that I think is good preparation for a lot of the production aspects of professional writing—you write, rewrite, rewrite with feedback, and then throw your precious to the wind to be poked and prodded into shape by complete strangers who perform the piece in their own image. It takes a village to produce a play. I’m extremely thankful that I’m getting to experience seeing my work taken to the ultimate conclusion of performance in Microburst this year.

What do you love the most about this experience with Microburst?

After all the rewriting I did to get the plays into shape, I was ready to be done with them. I thought I would go and see the performance out of obligation, hating every moment of my words being read aloud. But when I got to see the first and roughest rehearsal, with actors and a space with props for them to manipulate, I suddenly fell in love with my stories again. It makes so much of a difference seeing people take the characters I wrote in 12-point font suddenly be real people in front of me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t wait to see what they do with two months of rehearsal and an actual stage! Getting to see other people react to my imagination brought to life is going to be incredible, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity Microburst is providing me.

What is one thing you hope people will take away from your script?

The importance of human connection. When scared and alone, it is so easy to lock up and hide your fear and present a front to the world. We feel like this is what will protect us from further harm. But what we really need is time and space to heal, and so often it is through the care and attention of others that we find that. I want the audience to remember that strangers are kinder than we expect and that what makes life worthwhile is the network of love and support that connects us to each other.


Get to Know the Playwright, Avery DeGering

Play Title

Haven Spelled Wrong

Background info

I’m from Louisiana, majoring in Theatre Arts Studies. I’m married, with a cat.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

When I get bored or frustrated with writing, I switch to a new project. It’s my passion.

What inspired you to write this piece? 

Suicide and depression are real problems in Utah. So many people feel alone or even left behind by the people they love. I wanted to write about that.

What goals do you have for playwriting or theatre?

Being a successful playwright would be nice, careerwise. If not, I’d at least like to write something that influences positive change.

What do you love the most about this experience with Microburst? 

Getting reliable feedback on my work.

What is one thing you hope people will take away from your script?

Everyone is dealing with stuff. Just because you may not understand it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.


Get to Know the Playwright, Derek Johnson

Play Title

A Broken Castle

Background info

I am from Bellingham, WA. I graduated BFA Acting with a minor in business management in 2019.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I love to play video games, watch movies, longboard, play guitar, and learn random skills.

What inspired you to write this piece? 

As I grew older I realized that the explanations I was given from adults was always edited based on what they thought I could handle. This piece was an exploration of how we try to preserve the innocence of others that we love and the unforeseen consequences of keeping them in the dark.

What goals do you have for playwriting or theatre? 

I would love to be involved in any element of theatre. I love the art form and I want to continue to be involved through the rest of my life even if it does not end up being my profession.

What do you love the most about this experience with Microburst? 

I love the fact that I get to see what other people will add to my ideas. I love that my creation is simply the jumping off point for the other artists to explore.

What is one thing you hope people will take away from your script? 

I hope that they will understand how important small moments are and consider the value of honesty even when it is difficult.


Get to Know the Playwright, Olivia Whiteley

Play Title

Cages

Background info

I am a Senior studying American Studies from Spokane, Washington. I am interested in nuclear politics, local legislation, and contemporary art.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to write, hike, and sing in my shower. I run BYU’s Model United Nations High School Conference and an NGO called Girls Lobby, which teaches girls to lobby their state legislatures.

What goals do you have for playwriting or theatre?

Maybe get paid to do something in theater, one day?

What do you love the most about this experience with Microburst?

I love watching the piece on its feet. The actors and creative team have breathed life into something that has only lived as a figment of my imagination.

What is one thing you hope people will take away from your script, or Microburst in general?

Art is teamwork.

 

 

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