Thursday, May 19, 2011

Playwright Profile - Justine DeSilva

In the days leading up to the first rehearsal this Saturday, I’m posting short profiles of some of our high school playwrights. I sent the playwrights a series of questions via email, which will be included in the profile along with their response.

We begin with Justine DeSilva, an 11th grader at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack. Justine was selected as a winner in last year’s Festival for her play Why You. This year, her play, Wacky Wednesday was selected as one of four winners in the high school division.

How would you summarize your play in 3-4 sentences?
A teen couple struggling to understand the drastically different mentalities and social pressures of their two genders encounter an eccentric school nurse with the perfect remedy; a good old fashioned body switch.

What inspired you to write your play?
I am a firm believer in the 'art mirroring life' mentality; each piece I write has some sort of connection to my own experiences, questions, or curiosities. I feel that the most effective way for me to find truth in my writing is to expand on genuine emotions either felt or observed in my own life. Although the events of Wacky Wednesday are obviously fictional, they were inspired by my own frustrations and miscommunications with guy friends and boyfriends.

What plays have you previously written?
Last year I was very privileged to win the NJ Young Playwrights Festival/Governor's Award for the first play I'd ever written, Why You. The fact that I've been awarded the honor again for my second play is absolutely staggering and an incredible motivation to continue exploring the world of playwriting!

What advice would you give to other writers?
My tiny nugget of wisdom for the writers? Don't forget why you started writing in the first place. Remember the first time you felt words pounding against the pads of your fingers until you finally gave in and released them onto a palpable surface. Because that need and desire comes from a source of honesty that fuels not only a word's escape, but also its resonance in the humanity of others. It's a beauty that can't be forced but can be forgotten. Long story short? Write to fulfill an obligation to the soul, not the mind.

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