Betsy Woodsmansee (center in photo) and Courtney Cook (left) still can’t stop talking about having their plays chosen for the coveted Mid-America Theatre Conference Playwriting Symposium.
The symposium, held earlier this month in Chicago, gave the two OTC students a chance to have their submitted plays used in the symposium’s dramatists lab, where veteran actors, writers and directors produce the students’ plays on stage.
Over the course of the weekend, the students were on hand for a staged reading of their plays, which is performed at the conference before an audience of professionals and academics from all over the world. A feedback session followed, moderated by a professional playwright.
“I was scared and intimidated but the prize was getting to go and see your play performed,” Woodsmansee said.
Woodsmansee’s 10-minute play entitled “You and Me and Them,” is about two friends who have to give up mutual imaginary friends. Cook’s play, entitled “Last Time,” is about a couple going through a relationship breakup.
The two students, who have been writing plays for a number of years, were excited to see their plays read.
“It was so different seeing veteran actors doing your play. It was amazing to see them work,” Cook said.
Said Woodsmansee: “I got tears in my eyes. It was an emotional experience.”
For OTC, it was a rare moment for the theater arts program.
“Rarely do I see so many participants from one institution at the symposium. Rarely do I see community colleges at this conference and rarely do I see undergraduates invited to present in the dramatists lab. I think it says a lot that OTC consistently sends undergraduate students to this conference,” said Jon Herbert, theater arts instructor at OTC, (seated right in photo).
Appearing at the symposium and having their submitted plays performed has given the two students in OTC’s Beginning Playwriting class a shot of confidence.
“The symposium showed me that I’ve got potential and that I’m not writing for the heck of it,” Woodsmansee said.
Said Cook: “To have people who have been doing it for years saying ‘you’re talented,’ is really something I’ll remember for along time.
Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.
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