For the fourth year in a row, Palm Beach Dramaworks hosted its annual Young Playwrights 10-Minute Play Contest, open to young playwrights in grades 9-12 throughout Palm Beach County who want to focus and fine-tune their written works. This year, the works of three northern Palm Beach County students were chosen (among seven others) out of 80 submissions: Alexa McCulla, a senior at The Benajmin School (Fall from Grace), and seniors Carlyn Serpone (The Trathe Tribe) and Barrett Vargas (Ghosts of Graduation Past) from Jupiter High School.
Each of the 80 short plays was read by a team of professional theater artists and scored on dramatic conflict, characterization, character relationships, research, and creativity, says Gary Cadwallader, director of education and community engagement at Palm Beach Dramaworks. From there, 20 finalists were chosen, and written suggestions were sent to the finalists who were then given one week to make revisions and resubmit. “Carlyn, Barrett, and Alexa created stories that are universal to the human experience,” says Cadwallader. “They each touched upon an aspect of human conflict that really resonated with the professional theater artists. Barrett wrote about a high school valedictorian reflecting on the oppressiveness of an overbearing and driven parent; Alexa wrote about a young college student presented with a dilemma by a professor she idolizes; and Carlyn wrote about four students sitting around a campfire telling a scary story about a community of people who embrace superstitions.”
Each of the 10 winning playwrights had their work read by a professional actor in front of an audience via Zoom in March and received a published anthology of plays and a $250 cash prize.