Khanh Tran. Untitled. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Silver Medal, Painting.

Khanh Tran. Untitled. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Silver Medal, Painting.

Consider the word “playwright.” It suggests a wordsmith who uses both innovation and craft, and often fuses poetry and prose for an end product that is not for the faint-hearted: it’s interpreted…out loud…in front of an audience!

We asked playwright and 2013 Scholastic Awards Gold Medalist Phillip Anastassiou to discuss his process and his play Two Men Alike, in which an extremely talkative man and a deaf-mute find themselves stuck in a cave. What inspired him, and what advice can he offer to aspiring playwrights for the 2014 Scholastic Awards? In his own words:

Heroes and Influences…
I am seriously attracted to the aesthetic of absurdist drama. Beckett and Ionesco are my heroes. Waiting for Godot is almost sacred. My objective in writing Two Men Alike was to depict the constant struggle to seek intrinsic purpose in life and the inevitable failure to do so.

The Process…
Plays have never been meant to be read, but performed: theatre is a visual, auditory, and most importantly, live experience. Having actors read out loud can be incredibly enlightening because many times the way we imagine how it will sound can be vastly different from how it truly does sound when it  is spoken for the first time.

Life as a Gold Medalist…
This award instilled in me a kind of confidence I had never experienced before. It told me that someone who had no connection to me thought my writing and thoughts were worth something. After receiving this, I feel more assured in pursuing this undeniably risky profession with the hope of eventually creating something truly important.

Start Write Now…
One piece of advice: you must actively want your writing to be read or performed by others in order to be successful, or, more clearly put, noticed. Your writing is a product of your hunger to say something that could not be expressed in any other form and your labor to actually attempt to make sense of it on a page. It is a part of you. Sharing that with others can be tremendously daunting, but no one ever said that writing was easy. Be fearless and bold. Write about whatever the hell you want to and be deeply proud of it.

To read Philip’s play Two Men Alike, click here!

Have your own ideas on how to stay creative this summer? Tweet them to @artandwriting using #StartWriteNow or post them on our Facebook page!
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