WOHS Students win Writing Contest


Anna Favetta

Contest Winners, Runner Ups and Teacher Advisers

Rachel Favetta, Student Journalist

Lights begin to dim, doors close, the show begins. On May 22, four West Orange High School (WOHS) students, Kaiya Clarke, Justin Peters, Olivia Ridley, and Jillian Russell, wrote their own one-act plays for a “Luna Stage” competition. They won and got to watch real actors bring their productions to life with read throughs. The first WOHS student to have his play read was Freshman, Justin Peters. Peters’ play was a comedy entitled “Egyptian Lovers,” he was in awe as he watched his work in action.

“It was as if Monty Python and Abbott and Lou Costello were brought together in one play,” says English and Mythology teacher, Tonio Favetta, who helped and encouraged students who wrote the plays. Peter’s play featured a casting director and regular director who wants to live his dream dream of becoming a well known writer, and director on Broadway. However, his bad cast, and funny events, makes it difficult. Although the play was a comedy, it also dealt with serious themes like chasing dreams and never giving up.

The next WOHS student to have her play performed was Olivia Ridley. Her play, entitled “Slush,” takes place in a 7/Eleven, and  was about a man with brain cancer who just wants to die because living is prison. The man deals with cancer robbing him of his basic human rights. The play also explores the cashier’s perspective. It was touching and spiritual, and portrays the theme that life cannot be wasted.

Following Olivia Ridley was Jillian Russell’s play, “Shakespeare’s Mistake,” a romantic comedy about two teenagers, one girl and one boy. The girl practices Shakespeare with her boyfriend. The story centers around love and teenagers.

The final WOHS play read was Kaiya Clarke’s. Kaiya’s featured police and fear. Kaiya’s words were moving to many. While not every audience member agreed with its message, many stood at its conclusion, applauding Kaiya’s work.

At the end of the production, the students had a question and answer session with the audience. Acting teacher and director of recent WOHS production, “In the Heights,” Wendy Mapes asked to all of the students what it was like to work with the actors. Justin Peters responded, “it was flipping fantastic and 1 million thanks to them.”

Kaiya Clarke commented, “each actor takes on the characters really well with such short amount of time.”

Olivia Ridley was asked why she set the play in a 7/eleven. She responded, “I was intrigued by putting struggling, hard situations in regular places. Also, I wanted to give a voice to normal people, therefore putting the scenario in a normal place.”

One audience member stated, “You guys are so amazing and talented, and most definitely blew the audience away with your writing.”