Saturday, April 6, 2019

Play a Day: The Coward

Kati Schwartz
For Saturday I read The Coward by Kati Schwartz, and available at New Play Exchange.

I have teenagers in my house. I have listened to and documented teenagers talking to each other in a coffee shop. It is very difficult to write for teenagers or young adults, everyone has such strong opinions about how it’s done.

One out of one hundred people have told me that the dialogue for The Way I Danced With You is too mature for eighteen year-olds. I do not listen to them. I wrote it the way I thought it should sound for a particular type of young adult person, and that’s that.

Schwartz does masterful work capturing the essence of young adults speaking in conversation. It is at once affectless, and entirely earnest. Here she presents attendees at a college-age, summer drama camp, with a compact collection of interesting characters who each have their own way of navigating the backstage (off-off stage, in the dorm room) need to be noticed and accepted.

The brittle conflict between Christopher and Jill, two young homosexuals who feel threatened by each other, is so handily represented through turns of control and manipulation, the words we use to intimidate and also to gain sympathy. It’s a rewarding tale of bullying which would be well used by any college program or (mature) high school drama company.

I have my own experiences at the insecure one, the brunt of those seeking a beta male to dominate. I found an awful lot to relate to in this script.

Who should I read tomorrow?

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