5-Line Playwriting Tips from the Experts

It’s the last week of YPT’s 5-Line Playwriting Challenge!  Have you submitted your play yet?

We’ve already received some amazing plays from YPT’s super creative community. Check out these teasers below, including this touching play sent to us from our Young Playwrights’ Workshop alumna, Reyna Rios:reyna

I LOVE YOU

Jasmine: Hi, (shakes Martin’s his hand) my name is Jasmine Belen Martinez. People say that I am different, but I like to see that as a positive thing. I am always doing crazy things to show people how much I love and care about them.

Martin: But you don’t know me, dear Jasmine. I am just Martin Jackson, a homeless man that is invisible to everyone around me.  How do you expect me to believe that you love    someone like me?

Jasmine: Well let me show you that I do. Please say “yes?” (to be continued on December 21st!)

Or your play can be a comedy, like this one submitted by our newest board member, Catherine Crum, written with some of her friends (5-line plays can be a group effort!)

“URINE TROUBLE”: A PLAY IN ONE ACT

(two girls sit at desks.  a teacher hovers in the background.)

Girl A: (whispers) I have to pee so bad!

Girl B: Girl, you know you can’t leave during the SAT!

Teacher (slapping a ruler in his hand):  If you two continue discussing answers, you will be asked to leave, you will never go to college and you will end up playing the electric cello for pennies …

(Will she finish her SAT? Visit our YouTube channel on December 21st to find out!)

Did these great plays give you some ideas of your own? There’s still time!

Donate $25 or more before Friday and submit an original 5-line play, and you’ll get to see your play performed on YouTube.  We’re calling in the most talented artists we know – our students – to turn the tables on our supporters and bring YOUR words to life.  Plays can be funny, serious, dramatic, touching, satirical or just plain weird!  There are no wrong answers, and no idea is too crazy!  For complete challenge rules, click here.

Stuck on that first line? We know it can be hard to get started, so we went to our award-winning student ensemble for help! The Young Playwrights’ Workshop’s original plays have been featured in the Capital Fringe Festival and Intersections Festival, and will be seen in the 2013 Source Festival, so they know a thing or two about playwriting, and they agreed to share their own words of wisdom:

“Use current events! Take a piece of reality and make it fun!” – Edwin

“Never say you can’t do it. All plays start with weird ideas.” – Patriciopatricio

“Take your time. Think of a long term character, if one is used.” – Maxwell

“No matter how hard it is to think of what to write, keep it going. Don’t stop.” – Chris

Think outside the box. Think of something only your true self can write.” – Jardel

“Live your mind and express it all.” – Chrissilly

“Agarra tu papel y pon toda tu pasión y también has lo como que enserio fuera real, lo que tu estas actuando.” – Claudia

“Get silly” 🙂 – Morena

Click here now to make your donation of $25 or more to support YPT’s fall fundraising campaign, and send your 5-line play by 5pm on Friday, December 14th to abeyrle@yptdc.org.

Thank you, as always, for your support. Our students can’t wait to perform your plays!

Announcing YPT’s 5-Line Playwriting Challenge

This winter, YPT is turning the tables and giving our supporters the chance to be playwrights!

YPT couldn’t ask for better supporters. Over the years, you’ve packed houses at performances, participated in our online contests, joined the conversation on Facebook, gotten 15 to give 15, and run an 8k for us, all helping us grow to serve almost 2,000 students throughout the DC region each year. But demand for YPT’s programs grows, we do not currently have the capacity to reach all the students on our waiting list. That’s where you come in.

Our students really want you to say yes to them … so they’re going to say yes to you.

We’ve seen how YPT has impacted our alums as they’ve gone on to study everything from theater to business to neuroscience, and we think everyone should get the opportunity to be a playwright. So here’s your chance!

Now through December 14th, donate $25 or more to YPT and send us an original 5-line play, and our students will perform YOUR play.

Here’s how it works:

1) Donate $25 or more to YPT here or mail your check, made out to Young Playwrights’ Theater, to 2437 15th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20009.

2) Write a 5-line play and email it to abeyrle@yptdc.org by 5pm on December 14, 2012.

3) YPT elementary school students will rehearse and perform your play in their classroom and YPT staff will film it.

4) On December 21, YPT will post all the plays on our YouTube channel.

5) Share your play with your family and friends and show your support for arts education and our students!

Your donation will help YPT say YES to new classrooms and shrink our waiting list, helping more students discover the power of their voices and stories through playwriting. And to thank you, YPT students will share YOUR story with the world.

Play Guidelines:

1) Your play must be no more than five lines.

2) Your play must have two characters.

3) You must use the phrase “say yes” somewhere within the play.

4) Plays will be performed by elementary school students, so age-appropriate language and subject material please!

5) Your play must be submitted to abeyrle@yptdc.org by December 14, accompanied by a donation of $25 or more to support YPT’s fall fundraising campaign.

Tips:  Use your favorite books, movies or even pop culture as inspiration (age-appropriate please). Include a conflict! Think outside the box! As we’ve seen from our students’ plays, even inanimate desk objects can become vivid characters. There are no wrong answers, and no idea is too crazy!

Help YPT make our holiday fundraising campaign our biggest ever, and show our students that anyone can be a playwright. Click below to make your donation and get started!

Need inspiration?  Here are some examples!

Inspired by The Book and the Restless by Aayanna Collier (featured in YPT’s 2012 New Play Festival and 2012 Express Tour)

The Book and the Restless: The Proposal

BENJAMIN: Annie, will you marry me?

ANNIE: Oh Benjamin! I really want to say yes … but before I do I need to tell you something … something that I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time …

BENJAMIN: What is it?  Are you in love with Manny? (Annie shakes head) A Geography Goon?  (Shakes headPerry?  (Shakes head) Then what? What could possibly stop us from living happily ever after in the fairy tale section?

ANNIE: I … I think I want to become a vegetarian.

BENJAMIN: (Faints)

The 5-Line Play: Can It Be Done?

NO: Say, Yes?

YES: What?

NO: Will you help me write this five-line play? I really want to help YPT serve more students and see my play on YouTube!

YES: No.

NO: HA! THE END!

Still stuck? We’re here to help! For updates, inspiration and playwriting tips be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter throughout December!

Thank you, as always, for your amazing support.  We can’t wait to read your plays!

Supergirl’s Training Journal

Calling all YPT superheroes!

Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause is officially one month away!  We can’t wait to run with all our friends and supporters on October 14th!

As we enter the final stretch, we’ve recruited the ultimate trainer – our very own Supergirl, YPT’s 8k team leader and star of our recent reality show training video! Supergirl was created by student playwright Dakota Wenberg in her play A Jewel of Date, which was produced in our 2011 New Play Festival and Express Tour. We asked Dakota to bring Supergirl back to help motivate our walkers and runners by sharing her training regimen, and guess what … while Supergirl may be leading all our hardcore 8k competitors, she started out just like everyone else.

 Check out Supergirl’s hilarious and inspirational journey from “Supersoregirl” to race-ready, as imagined by Dakota. Then don’t forget to register for the race on October 14 and support YPT! As Supergirl reminds us, real superheroes aren’t about winning; they are about helping others in superhuman ways!”


Hey everybody!

It’s Supergirl here, ready to get you excited about the upcoming Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause! I will be helping my friends at YPT raise money for their programs. You can follow my progress as I get ready to run hard this fall.

Day 1 – I woke up this morning to the ring of my home phone. I picked it up and who should it be but my friend Laurie down at YPT. She came to me with an urgent plea for a superhero to lead the charge in Acumen Solutions’ Race for a Cause. I immediately agreed. Unfortunately only after I put down the phone did I realize exactly what I had signed up for. I had to run; dad taught me to fly not run. This was going to be much more difficult than I had expected. So who was I supposed to turn to for help? Who was insane enough to run every day up and down brutal hills while torturing their every muscle in their bodies? Who would willfully submit themselves to miles of endless scenery and pain on foot? Then it hit me, like a baseball. I reached for my phone and started dialing furiously. There was only one solution to my problem, the Cross Country team.

Day 2 – 5:30 AM. Sunrises are overrated. Sweat and pain takes all the beauty out of it. The things they don’t tell you at the beginning of practice could fill an entire three part series. For instance wheezing and shortness of breath are not considered signs of a pending heart attack. I had no idea the team was made up of Flash wannabes, I just wanted to finish the race, they wanted to sprint for 5 kilometers or so I gathered from their training regime. You would think that stopping running would stop the pain, but no, it only starts a new cycle of discomfort. I see a hot bath in my future.

Day 3 – 5:30 AM. I can’t do it, I won’t go, they can’t make me. I’m going to hide. Yeah like I’m going back there again. Supergirl? More like Supertiredgirl, Supersoregirl, and Superstupidforsigningupforthisgirl. I made the mistake of telling dad about my promise to YPT and he’s determined to make me go. Right now I’m hiding under the sink in desperate hope that the metal will throw my father’s x-ray vision off. Shh. I hear him coming…. ACK! Caught, think fast. Oh yeah . . . Why am I under the sink?  . . . I was just checking up on the pipes dad! Gotta run.

Day 15 – 5:30 am. I fear that I may have scared my readers off with my apocalyptic tales of running, but now that it’s been about two weeks I’m starting to get the hang of it. My muscles don’t hurt anymore and I can run faster than I ever have before. I’ve elevated my expectations, and I no longer want to simply finish the race, but I want to kick some hiney. I am no longer staggering into the locker room ten minutes after everybody has showered and gone home. The coaches have stopped giving me those sad sympathetic eyes. I remember when dad took me on my first around the world flying trip, it took two hours and twenty minutes, and we almost hit Everest (navigation error a.k.a. dad refused to ask for direction when we got blown off course at the Tien Shan Mountains.) I never thought running could give you the same high as flying. I love this!!!

Day 29 – 8:30 PM. I’ve got ten minutes to lights out. Tomorrow is race day and I need my sleep. Today I pounded carbs all the way up until the big team pasta dinner. Unfortunately I had forgotten what a super human appetite I have and before I knew what was going on I had downed half a pan of baked ziti and two loaves of garlic bread. Lucky for me I blended in with my teammates just fine — have you seen how much teenagers eat?  I am in perfect shape, I am ready. I will win.

Day 30– 5:43 AM. Coach told me I could sleep in until 6:30 before the race but I can’t seem to shake off something Dad said to me last night as I was getting ready to sleep.  He reminded me that real superheroes aren’t about winning; they are about helping others in superhuman ways – like the super organizations that will benefit from Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause.  I let my ambition get the best of me.  Today is not about being number one – today is about helping others be the best they can be.  Today we sweat for others.  Tomorrow they lead us to new superhero heights.

Don’t forget to register for the race by October 11th!  We can’t wait to see you on the 14th!

Training Tips from Flatworm

Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause is now almost six weeks away!  We are so excited to see all the friends and community members who have registered to participate in the race for YPT, and we can’t wait for October.

We’ve been training all summer, but we all know it can be hard to stay motivated.  Luckily we have some important training tips from Flatworm himself, from Flatworm’s Courageous Act, written by student playwright Lauren White and produced in our 2011 New Play Festival and Express Tour. As YPT’s superhero team leader for the 1 Mile Fun Run, we asked Lauren to bring Flatworm back for some extra motivation as we get closer to the race! Check out what Lauren came up with for Flatworm’s special message to our walkers and runners, and don’t forget to register for the race on October 14!

Hello, beings of earth! This is Flatworm, carrying an important message from Young Playwrights’ Theater. The Race for a Cause™ 8k and 1 Mile Fun Run is coming soon, and I’ve got a few tips for you runners, joggers and crawlers!

• Never run too fast in the beginning. This is a long distance to go, just like the four foot wall that I once had to climb.

• Always keep in mind that you CAN lose. It’s good motivation to win!

• Stay hydrated! Drinking enough water is SO important when you’re doing any kind of physical activity. I personally had to learn this the hard way when I didn’t drink enough water before trying to open a bottle of peanut butter. THAT was a big mistake.

Last of all, and perhaps the most obvious of all, try your best! No matter if it’s running in a race, or if it’s defeating an evil villain, trying hard is the #1 way to succeed.

I hope these tips will really help you guys in the race!

Love,

Flatworm

Introducing YPT’s Race for a Cause™ Superhero Teams!

Have you heard the exciting news?

This fall, YPT is thrilled to be partnering with Acumen Solutions for their 4th Annual Race for a Cause™ 8K and 1Mile Fun Run race on October 14, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia!

 YPT was selected as one of ten charities benefitting from the race. It’s up to each runner (or enthusiastic walker!) to pick which charity your participation will benefit … and the more people who register to run for YPT, the more funding we receive!

So you’re one of our amazing supporters and you want to help out.  But a competitive race? At YPT we’re all very excited to be participating in the Race for a Cause but – confession time — we’re not what you’d call competitive, or even recreational, runners.  Guess what … you don’t have to be!

Whatever your level of fitness, you can participate in the Race for a Cause™, and we will be cheering you all the way to the finish line, with the help of some very special motivators.

Acumen is inviting everyone to “Be a Superhero” just by running for a charity, so we thought that this exciting challenge called for some of our own favorite superheroes! Check out the three fun YPT teams you can join, each led by an inspirational YPT superhero. Once you register for the race, email abeyrle@yptdc.org or post on our Facebook page to let us know which team you’re joining, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and this blog throughout the summer for team updates, photos, videos, quotes and stories featuring our team leaders as we get pumped up for October!

(Note: Our superhero team levels are YPT-specific, so when registering you’ll have two options: the 1 mile or the 8k. But you can register for the 8k planning to run competitively or walk/run – there’s no time limit for completion, and no rule that says you must run the whole time!)

TEAM SUPERGIRL

Team Leader: Supergirl (from A Jewel of a Date by Dakota Wenberg) #teamsupergirl

So you’re ready to run!  Maybe you’re a marathon runner who eats 8ks for breakfast. Or maybe you’re a regular runner and ready to take it to the next level.  With Supergirl as your team leader, we’ll help you win the race in the morning, save the world’s most expensive diamond in the afternoon, and still have time for a date with Jake in the evening! Join Supergirl and YPT staff members Alison and Pete, and register to run the 8k (and claim your share of over $2,000 in prizes, awarded to top race winners!)  And know that 5 miles is further than Alison has ever run in her life, so you’re guaranteed to at least beat her.

TEAM MAGNET DUDE

Team Leader: Magnet Dude (from Magnet Dude by Kyrtham Franco) #teammagnetdude

So you’re a recreational runner who logs a few miles in your neighborhood, but you aren’t sure about running an 8k. Or maybe you just enjoy really long, athletic walks.  Magnet Dude is here to help you successfully complete your very first 8k!  When you register for the 8k you can plan to “run/walk” like YPT staff members Brigitte and Nicole.  Whatever pace you choose, we’ll be there to cheer you on as you cross the finish line!

TEAM FLATWORM

Team Leader: Flatworm (From Flatworm’s Courageous Act by Lauren White) #teamflatworm

So you’re not a runner. Nothing wrong with that! Maybe participating in a race is as intimidating to you as climbing that peanut brittle wall was for Flatworm.  But Flatworm conquered his fear, and so can you! Register for the 1 mile format – it’s a great option for those who’d prefer a relaxing walk, as well as for families and young runners. No training needed — although Flatworm will be sharing tips for power walking for our one-milers, including staff members Liza and Laurie! Your registration still helps us win funds to help more students, and on race day you’ll get to watch all those sweaty 8k-ers cross the finish line while basking in the healthy glow of your one-mile stroll.

So pick your team, and click here to register now! All runners get a race shirt (or cape if you’d prefer!) and Acumen is offering a special early bird rate if you register before August 1. The race will take place at 8am on Sunday, October 14, 2012 in Arlington, Virgina (easily metro accessible). For more information about the race, click here.

No matter how you choose to participate, you’ll be helping YPT win the funds we need to say “yes” to more deserving classrooms this school year and serve more students than ever before with free, innovative playwriting and theater arts programming and performances. And that makes you our superhero.

Thank you, as always, for your support. See you on the training course!

Alison, Development and Producing Associate

 

April Pizza Adventures Part IV: RedRocks Pizzeria

We did it!  A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our pizza party fundraising marathon this April. We had a great time exploring local pizza joints, raising money for the New Play Festival, and sampling all kinds of pizza.

On Wednesday, April 18, RedRocks Pizzeria in Columbia Heights very generously agreed to donate 30% of their happy hour proceeds to YPT, so Wednesday evening I took a break from all the exciting preparations leading up to the New Play Festival (opening on Monday!) and headed over to RedRocks. The cozy pizza restaurant is located in a converted row house just a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro, and it was a welcome shelter from the cold, wet Wednesday evening. I found families and young professionals alike enjoying RedRocks neopolitan-style thin crust pizzas and after-work specials.

Highlights:

  • $6.50 margarita pizzas during happy hour. And these pizzas weren’t small– you could easily eat your fill and still have leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • The cozy atmosphere, especially on a gray, rainy evening in the middle of the week.
  • While I did not sample the calzones this visit (also a happy hour special), I caught a glimpse, and they looked delicious – and huge!
  • Thin crust European-style pizza. Although I love all kinds of pizza, I must say this is my favorite.
  • How friendly and accommodating the staff was as people came and went from our YPT pizza party – they even extended their happy hour specials until 8pm.
  • And of course, how awesome RedRocks is for hosting our final YPT pizza party!

Overall, RedRocks is a perfect neighborhood restaurant if you’re in the Columbia Heights area and craving delicious, restaurant-style pizza in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. I’m sure I and the other members of the YPT staff will be back.

So my journey has come to an end.  While it may be awhile before I’m hungry for pizza again (maybe by the next New Play Festival), I’ve had a great time discovering local pizza joints and making new friends in the community. I’m so impressed by how generous our local businesses are, and I want to thank them all – Pete’s Apizza, Flippin’ Pizza, HomeMade Pizza Company and RedRocks Pizzeria – for supporting YPT, our New Play Festival, and our amazing students.

And of course, a big thank you to YOU, our amazing supporters, for participating in our events and following my adventures (and a special shout-out to my roommate and YPT enthusiast Ashley, who participated in three out of our four fundraisers and even brought a crowd of friends to RedRocks – with only minimal pressure from me!)

How many pizza places did you visit in April?  Share you photos, or your stories on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Next up: The New Play Festival!  Now that we’ve raised all the dough (haha), join us on Monday, April 23, and Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30pm, at GALA Hispanic Theatre, to celebrate the achievements of twelve incredible young playwrights. Monday features seven hilarious, family-friendly plays written by some of our younger students, while Tuesday features five plays insightfully exploring more mature issues written by some of our older students. Join us at 7pm on both nights for a special pre-show reception with food and drink.  And I promise … no pizza.

Thank you, as always, for your support. We can’t wait to see you next week.  In the meantime, I’m off to the gym!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

April Pizza Adventures Part II: Flippin’ Pizza

After a recent exploration of “New Haven-style” pizza at Pete’s Apizza, for YPT’s next pizza party we decided to travel further down the east coast for some authentic, New York style pizza. On April 12, Flippin’ Pizza in Dupont Circle generously hosted a “Community Builders” night for YPT, donating 50% of proceeds from YPT supporters.  So on Thursday night, I celebrated “it’s-almost-Friday” by recruiting some friends and heading over to Flippin’ Pizza – a cozy, subterranean pizza joint in the heart of Dupont Circle, bustling with families, young professionals catching up over a post-work slice and people stopping in to pick up a giant 18” pizza for dinner. As for the pizza?  People often complain that compared to New York, our city is lacking in the pizza department, but at Flippin’ Pizza I found a delicious little bit of New York, right in the middle of Washington, DC.

Highlights:

  • The crust!  Thin and chewy … so delicious!
  • Huge slices, for a very reasonable price (yet somehow, I still managed to eat two)
  • While I stuck with plain cheese (sometimes, you just crave the classics), Flippin’ offers both “white” and “red” specialty pizzas. One friend sampled the tomato, basil and garlic white pizza, marveling: “you can really taste the basil!”
  • Whether you’re working in Foggy Bottom, living in Woodley Park or walking over from the YPT HQ in Columbia Heights, you can’t beat the location.
  • The super-friendly staff, and homey, “local pizza joint” atmosphere.
  • And of course, how amazing Flippin’ Pizza is for hosting fundraising nights for local organizations, and pledging half of the proceeds from these events.

A big thanks to Flippin’ Pizza for hosting a very successful second YPT pizza fundraiser to benefit our New Play Festival.  In addition to Dupont Circle, they also have locations in Northern Virginia and even at Nationals Park, so I will definitely be enjoying more of their giant slices in the future.

Next up: get ready for a YPT Pizza Party marathon!

On Tuesday, April 17, 14th Street’s HomeMade Pizza Company is generously donating a portion of proceeds to YPT from every large pizza, large salad, order of breadsticks and gift card sold for the entire day (1pm – 10pm). Their menu highlights delicious, homemade-style pizza from fresh ingredients. They also have a variety of salads and desserts, in case you’re tired of pizza (if that’s even possible), and gluten-free options. Remember it’s all day – and pick-up only, at 1522 14th St, NW.  See you there!

Then on Wednesday, April 18, we’re kicking off the New Play Festival with a celebratory happy hour at RedRocks Pizzeria, just a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro. RedRocks is generously donating 30% of happy hour proceeds to YPT, and we’re hoping to celebrate with many friends (21 and older for this one, please) as we get ready for the big event next week.  RSVP for the happy hour here!

And don’t forget – the YPT Pizza Photo contest is still on! Check out our Facebook albums from our past two pizza parties for inspiration, and share your own photos for a chance to win a prize at the New Play Festival (more pizza? a gym membership? the possibilities are endless!)

See you on Tuesday, and until then, stay hungry!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

(and official YPT pizza critic)