In Search of Theater for Teen Actors…just my thoughts

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Okay, so where does director of faith-based theater go to research and find good material for H.S. students?

After piling through sketch and play sites and a few other resources, I am considering the following:

We need writers for high school aged actors (sketches and plays)… ones that will commit to writing the stories that matter to them! I need to write.

Today, high school people are more sophisticated and wiser (worldly-wise) than ever before. My experience, after being back in the classroom is this: They won’t do corny.  They won’t do obvious. They won’t do things that seem immature-childish scenarios, story-lines, sketches or plays.  “Not-ever-going-to-happen in my lifetime…” as one teen informed me.

They will do funny, if it’s truly funny. They will do serious work if they find it addressing a story that is true enough to be lived out by them or other teens around them.

They don’t mind being the messengers.  They will work. They will show up and rehearse.  They’ll open up their own stories for the telling.

I find it more than interesting that young adult fiction books (series)—read and enjoyed by teens—have become successful movies over the last several years: “The Fault In Our Stars” (John Green), “Divergent”, “The Hunger Games”.

I personally have been moved by these stories and movies. The characters are brave and courageous—heroes and heroines—in their living and in their dying. Also, interesting to note, is the futuristic reality of Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant (Veronica Roth) and the Hunger Games Series (Suzanne Collins).

As a parent of a teen, a teacher and a theater arts director of teens, I am asking the question—“What is speaking so loudly to their hearts, minds and souls in these works?”… “How can I enter this dialogue and could I be a part of helping them tell the stories that matter to them?”

The best way to do this, if teens are in your life, is to ask questions and create an open dialogue. Ask them at a time when they are open. “When’s that?!  The door is always closed,” you might be thinking. I find some of the best time is in the car on the way home or to places, after dinner or a dinner-out time, the last moments of the day before they retire. Let them talk… tell their story. This is not your time to philosophize-criticize-moralize…interrupt. Simply listen and open your ears. Ask open-ended questions. And make sure you are ready for some questions to come back your way.

If you want to write for them, you must get inside their stories and find out what is hard, challenging, crazy, hopeful, joyous, important, etc., to them.

With their permission, hurry to your laptop, journal, yellow pad and write as many notes as you can remember…

And then when you get to the place of writing, ask them to be a part of the critique team.  They love that—critiquing us!

Call or write me about your thoughts on writing for teens… I’m all ears about this group of amazing people.

God bless your story and the teens in and around your life!


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