Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Dramatic Possibilities: What Happens When Young Playwrights Set Their Lives to Paper?

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Dramatic Possibilities: What Happens When Young Playwrights Set Their Lives to Paper?

Article excerpt

Washington, D.C. playwright Karen Zacarfas squirms uncomfortably in her chair when asked if the object of her work is social transformation. "That would be presumptuous of me," she says quickly, adding that "every artist hopes that they transform and change somebody for the better, for the point of deeper self-awareness."

Whether or not Zacarias' work is conceived with transformation in mind, that has clearly been the result of her award-winning dramas and her involvement as a leading voice for minorities and youth in contemporary American theater. As a Latina with family roots in Mexico, Uruguay, Lebanon, and Sweden, she knows what it feels like to be an outsider in a dominant culture, or to be connected to several very different cultures at the same time and to have to make sense of them. "I never felt fully part of any culture," she says. "So, as a writer, I was always observing."

Observation and experience led Zacarias to found Young Playwrights' Theater (YPT) in Washington 12 years ago. The award-winning arts nonprofit teaches playwriting to mostly minority students in D.C. urban schools with the aims of promoting literacy and conflict resolution while shepherding student work toward professional production. Recent collaborations have seen student work produced at the Smithsonian Institution and in several local professional theaters.

In March, a new musical about the history and inhabitants of the White House will premiere at D.C. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.