A billow of smoke fills the room while a train whistle blows. A Noir character walks slowly across the stage while a cello croons, and instantly you know youâ€™re in for a treat. A series of chance encounters ensue in which a curiously perceptive stationmaster meets a bumbling middle-aged workhorse, a broken-hearted, senile old woman and a struggling young couple. As the play comes together, it becomes more and more amazing to realize that this play, â€œThe Stationmaster,â€ was written by 17-year-old Jacob Axelrad.
Jacob is one of four talented young playwrights to be featured in the Plays by Young Writers showcase. The winning scripts from the 2008 California Young Playwrights Contest were staged at The Old Town Theatre from January 15-25. Although the cast varied widely in age, all of the plays in the series were written by students ages 11-19.
USD theater major Soroya Rowley appeared in â€œThe Stationmaster,â€ while senior theater major Kristie Kahlweiss starred in â€œProm Night,â€ written by 17-year-old Emily Reit, in which a nervous teenage boy endures the absurd antics of his prom dateâ€™s parents. This wildly original comedy featured Karson St. John and Ruff Yeager in delightfully campy performances, one a cartoonish Charlton-Heston-meets-Elvis-Costello, the other a kooky â€˜50â€™s housewife.
â€œIf I Were Your Superhero,â€ another featured production, was directed by USD theater professor Liz Shipman. â€œA+Bâ‰ ABâ€ was directed by USDâ€™s George Ye.
For more information, go to www.playwrightsproject.org.
â€” by Stefanie Wray