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The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Playwrights and directors of “A Reflection of Us” ready to tackle a new challenge

Marika Kanayama
Playwriting students gather in a circle. VPA electives like these are among those that would be affected by a failed override.

Technicians are running to do last minute checks.  Actors are getting their makeup and costumes ready for the stage. Set manipulation is getting the set on to the stage. Then it all gets quiet and the curtain opens.  It’s opening night for the playlab students and they will finally get to see their play on the big stage. 

Thirty-three students have been writing ten-minute plays for the festival “A Reflection of Us” which will take place in December and January over the course of four days. The festival will be on December 20th and 21st, and January 4th and 5th. The students have to write their own play, and then cast and direct for someone else’s play. While the ten minute play festival was a big success last year, this year WATA is changing things up.

The fact that students won’t be directing their own play is the major difference between this year and last year’s process. Last year, the playwright also directed their own play, so the writer of the play could bring their own vision to life. However this year, they get to watch someone else bring their play to life and put their own spin on it.

“Every time you bring another artist into the space […], you bring a fresh lens and fresh ideas that add to the overall creative output,“ playlab teacher Michael Towers said.

Towers took over the playwriting class, which is part of playlab, many years ago and has assigned the ten-minute play project for fifteen to twenty years. Though the playwright and director were the same person last year, Towers said that he has had students direct a different person’s play, like they are this year, in previous years.

The reason that Towers decided to implement the change for this year was that he felt the timing was right. 

“Sometimes it depends on what’s going on in the world and how much work is on [our students’ plates] and how much experience they have,” Towers said. “This is the best road for the most positive outcome with the greatest growth for our students, but it [requires] the most coordination and work.”

As half the students in playlab had at least eight years of experience in theater, Towers believes that his students are ready for a challenge and directing someone else’s play would be perfect.

Senior Maia Gosselin will be overseeing all the plays this year as manager after volunteering for the position in September. Gosselin has done “Reflection of Us” for many years, and has a lot of experience with the festival, but never as a manager.

“I like managing stuff, and this festival [is] a great opportunity to do that,” Gosselin said.

Junior Megan Piendak, who was a beginner last year, is writing a play for the festival again this year. She feels more comfortable and prepared for the assignment this year with the knowledge she has gained from her past experience.

“I definitely know a lot more when it comes to formatting this time around,” Piendak said. “I just generally feel like I have a better handle on the way things need to work to have a successful play in December.”

Senior Natalie Weinberg, like Piendak, will also be participating in the festival for the second time this year. She has had her 10-minute play from last year produced in Boston and was also a Boston Theater Marathon winner.

“I think [playwriting last year] was definitely an experimental process,” Weinberg said. “But overall, I’m very proud of [my plays].”

Weinberg has taken tech and acting roles, and has found it helpful in writing a play. She has helped direct shows before, and is also directing next season’s Black Box performance, Breadcrumbs.

As of right now, writers have finished their plays and are now moving on to directing them. They are working on figuring out who is directing each play. The festival is split up into four nights, two in December and two in January, and will have around eight plays each. The plays will be split up so similar messages won’t overlap on the same day. 

People will be paired and direct each other’s plays. 

“It can be kind of scary to totally give up creative control because you can feel like another director won’t ‘get it right’, but then you have to realize that there really isn’t a ‘right’ way,” Weinberg said. “Just like any other form of art, theater should be open to interpretation.”

Meanwhile, Gosselin is looking forward to the challenge of directing a play written by someone else.

“I’m excited to see how someone else interprets my work, and I’m also excited to do the same with another playwright’s play,” Gosselin said. “It will help me grow as a director as well as an artist.”


“Reflection of Us” will need at least two actors for each play, as well as technicians. Students who are interested can email Towers ([email protected]) or Gosselin ([email protected]) to be part of a show. 

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Marika Kanayama
Marika Kanayama, Staff Writer
Hi. My name is Marika Kanayama, and I am a sophomore at WA. It is my first year on the Ghostwriter staff. I sometimes like to read books, sleep and enjoy snacks. I also like to travel and enjoy learning new things. I am excited for what this year brings.

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