Champlain Valley Union High School senior Lindsey Drew has taken her homework one step further – to the stage of the Kennedy Center.
In Robin Fawcett’s Page to Stage course at CVU, students study playwrighting for the first half of the semester and write a 10-minute play. In the second half of the semester, students study the role of the actor and director by producing their plays.
Last year, Lindsey wrote and produced “Life Coach,” a play she wrote about Maggie who enters a new school, in a new town. In addition to navigating a strange school, she has to do it in a wheelchair.
“It’s a funny, poignant, insight-filled exploration of how it feels to pursue friendship and love when your primary form of transportation is a wheelchair,” Fawcett wrote in an email.
In order to portray the conflicting thoughts that Maggie has as she tries to adjust to the new school, Lindsey created a character that only Maggie – and the audience – see.
“I wanted to have a character to represent what she was thinking so we could see that inner dialogue, so that’s why the play’s called ‘Life Coach,’” Lindsey said. “The character in her head that’s personifying her thoughts is called Coach. Coach is trying to give her advice and help her navigate the situation, so that’s what the play’s about and the obstacles that she runs into trying to seem cool to this girl that she’s trying to befriend.”
Fawcett encouraged Lindsey to enter “Life Coach” in the Kennedy Center’s VSA Playwright Discovery Program.
VSA was founded in 1974 as the National Committee – Arts for the Handicapped. In 1985, it became Very Special Arts and it was shortened to VSA in 2010, according to the Kennedy Center website.
Lindsey said the competition is for plays with at least one character who has a disability, written by someone with a disability.
Lindsey has cerebral palsy. Although she is not confined to a wheelchair, the play is a metaphor of obstacles that she has experienced.
“I was thinking about my own experience and a way to demonstrate it in a different scenario,” Lindsey said.
The result is that her play is one of six in the nation chosen to be workshopped at the Kennedy Center. She will be visiting Washington, D.C., on April 17-19 and will work with professional theater artists as they work on her script.
Lindsey said she’ll have the opportunity to give input during rehearsals which will result in a stage reading.
The senior has been involved with theatre since she was in kindergarten, but “Life Coach” was the first time she’d written a play. But not the last. She took the Page to Stage course again and wrote “Eight Point Two Miles,” which is the story of two friends who’ve applied to college and worry about how their relationship will change if they go to different schools.
Lindsey will attend Bennington College next year. She doesn’t know what her major will be but plans for it to be something that involves lots of creative writing. She chose Bennington because there are many opportunities for student-directed plays.
Fawcett’s Page to Stage class will present their work in “10-minute Play Marathon” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, in the CVU Theatre.