Marfa Live Arts awards and performs winning student monologues at Planet Marfa

Marfa Live Arts’ Sixth Annual Playwriting Prep Program awarded ten Marfa Junior High students prizes and performed their winning monologues. Winners are (from left) Joshua Kelly, Mateo Meza, Ayven Pippen, Dylan Ibarra, Ricardo Ramos, Amaya Gomez, Ava Flores, Zoey Salgado, Flavio Udave and Natalie Ortiz. Photo courtesy of Marfa Live Arts.

Last week, Marfa Junior High students participated in the sixth annual Marfa Live Arts Playwriting Preparatory Program. Ten of these winning monologues were presented and brought to life Wednesday night by actors Victor Hugo, Lawrence Johnson, Sabine Blaese, Tilly Hawk, Natalie Melendez, Lily Aguero and Yoseff Ben-Yehuda at the Winter Theater Showcase hosted at Planet Marfa.

The ten students who received prizes and had their pieces performed were: seventh graders Joshua Kelly (The Armadillo’s Metaphor), Mateo Meza (Wolf), Natalia Ortiz (Hola Soy Tu Yo Del Pasado), Zoey Salgado (A Typical Day as a Cat), Flavio Udave (The Stream); and eighth graders Ava Flores (Oh Frey!), Amaya Gomez (Dear Future Self), Dylan Ibarra (Just a Sport, Right?), Ayven Pippen (Little Snake’s Adventure), and Ricardo Ramos (Together Again).

During the week-long workshop, Marfa Live Arts Director Jennie Lyn Hamilton coached students through a series of sensory and observation exercises to help students find their writer’s voice. The program seeks to build self-confidence, provide problem-solving methods and show students how to use writing as an effective outlet for self-expression. 

One student described what he liked best about the workshop: “To be honest, there was a lot that really let me express myself in these pieces of writing. It let me talk about different things that I enjoy and things that I cherish with great pleasure. And finally, the awareness and positivity that I gained is immeasurable.”

Hamilton shared, “The goal is for students to come away with a new skill set for expressing themselves. Nurturing creativity benefits everyone and the creative process exercises and expands all aspects of thought development. Hopefully these students learned some techniques that will serve them in whatever direction they grow, regardless of the discipline of their study.”

The Playwriting Prep Program, supported by Wyatt Ranches Foundation, Texas Women for the Arts and Marfa Education Foundation, teaches students how to write key components of a play in preparation for the high school playwriting program taught each spring. In its 11th year, the annual Marfa Live Arts high school program, which will host guest playwright Georgina Escobar on March 7-11, has resulted in over 850 one-act plays written by Marfa students.