From The Parnassian Society at Columbia High School:
For a second year in a row, Columbia High School’s theater group, The Parnassian Society, partnered with the American Theater Group, now in residence at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), and The Stages Festival and New Jersey Theatre Alliance to present New Works/New Voices, original short plays written by CHS students Zaria Berry, Adunni Charles, Anita Freedson-Jackson, Max Goldstein, Jennilee Jean Pierre, Merav Mandel, Mya Roman, Annabelle Roses, Rae Spence-Dawkins and Max Sundue.
The works will be performed by professional actors at SOPAC Thursday evening, March 21 at 7 p.m. These new works were the first foray into the world of play writing for these students. The images, settings, situations and personalities of the characters are vividly portrayed by the “painting” the students created in their writing. In developing their work, students reveal they are inspired by their own life experiences, reflections, concerns, creativity and whimsy to develop their own unique play.
The students have been working with their CHS English teacher Janet Bustrin and Jim Ligon, professional actor, writer, director and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University. For the last six weeks, they have been writing, collaborating and honing their work. At last year’s performance, audience members expressed their amazement that the compelling works had been written by students ranging in age from 15 to 18. And the new playwrights expressed how “cool” it was to see their work performed by professional actors before a live audience. This year’s crop of young playwrights are anxiously awaiting the thrill of seeing their work performed Thursday, March 21.