Friday, May 20, 2011

Playwright Profile - Sam Gelman

Today’s playwright is Sam Gelman, a junior at The Pingry School in Martinsville. Sam’s play, For the Sake of America: A Story of Patriotism, was selected as one of four winners in the 2011 NJ Young Playwrights Festival – High School division.

How would you summarize your play in 3-4 sentences?
For the Sake of America: A Story of Patriotism is about an average man named Isaac who has been framed by the government for a crime he did not commit. He is given a choice: to plead guilty to the charges he is accused of and receives a deal from the government which will allow him to start his life all over again in a new town with government provided money, or too plead not guilty and risk being found guilty and condemned to jail. With the odds stacked against him, Isaac soon discovers that no matter what he does in the eyes of the jury he'll be found guilty, so he has to make a choice, between his principles and his freedom.

What inspired you to write your play?
The 2008 presidential election filled me with general loathing for self-proclaimed "servants of the people." I became convinced whatever politicians were doing could only be for their own good. I remember reading an op-ed about the failing war on drugs and wondering how the government could convince people that the war on drugs was not a failure. I came up with the idea of a staged drug bust, and the play came from there.

What plays have you previously written?
I have previously written one play (also about corrupt politicians, conveniently,) a murder mystery/drama set in Puritan New England called New Jerusalem. I also wrote an homage to Shakespeare in the form of a short prequel to Macbeth written in Shakespeare's iambic pentameter style. I start to write many plays, but in reality, I have many unfinished short plays in my collection just waiting to be finished.

What are you expectations for the upcoming Festival?
I'm very excited to see the upcoming festival, but I'm also feeling a little strange. It’s weird to imagine people speaking lines I wrote and acting them out. I'm very excited to see what will come out of the reading-after all, it’s one thing to read a play and quite another to see it.

What advice would you give to other writers?
Every time you have an idea, write it down! Keep a journal and jot down ideas as they come to you. Never decide not to write something down because it’s too silly-keep going with it until you decide not to. Also, once you commit to a project and decide you like it, keep working on it! I have too many unfinished plays that remained unfinished because my steam just died down. Keep the energy up!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for adding to the discussion! Please bear in mind that this is a site with a wide audience from young playwrights of all ages, to teachers, to theatre artists, and beyond. As a result, all comments will be moderated before posting. Thanks!