• Tri-County Early College students (from left) Davie Closser, Marie Townson and Adam Fleischer perform Friday in The Weight of the World at Valleytown Cultural Arts Center.
    Tri-County Early College students (from left) Davie Closser, Marie Townson and Adam Fleischer perform Friday in The Weight of the World at Valleytown Cultural Arts Center.
  • Tri-County Early College students (from left) Lauren Hand and Hailey Curran perform Friday in  Labyrinth of the Mind at Valleytown Cultural Arts Center.
    Tri-County Early College students (from left) Lauren Hand and Hailey Curran perform Friday in Labyrinth of the Mind at Valleytown Cultural Arts Center.

Teen playwrights make their directorial debut

    Andrews – Two teenage playwrights made their directorial debut Friday at the Valleytown Cultural Arts Center.
    Tri-County Early College High School students Wyatt Vanattia and Marie Townson put on their productions for captive audiences. The plays involve adapting Greek myths with modern connections to the school environment.
    Vanattia and Townson have worked on the plays all school year and were excited to put them on.
    Townson’s play, The Weight of the World, is based on the Greek Titan Atlas, who via legend holds up the heavens on his shoulders. The weight of the world, in this adaption, is the heavy load of schoolwork tasked to students at the Early College. The “trial masters” represent the teachers.
    The play focuses on legends involving Athena, Hercules and the quest for golden apples. This represents Atlas getting a big assignment that he knows will be difficult, but he must take on.
    “He realizes that if he allows himself to grow and not to suffer, it will make life and work easier for him,” Townson said.
    Her main character dropped out of the play, so she took over as the lead actress on top of writer and director.
    Vanattia wrote Labyrinth of the Mind based on the legends of Theseus and the Minotaur. He said the latter creature will be depicted as misunderstood, like many youths say they are today.
    “A lot of kids at Tri-County are oddball kids who did not want to go to regular school because they didn’t like it or didn’t fit in,” he said. “This shows Theseus as kind of a bully, and we see Ariadne help both of them through the metaphorical labyrinth that is high school.”
    Neither student said they had much trouble as directors with fellow students as cast members.
    “I’m not completely arrogant, but I’m very bossy, so I don’t have too much of an issue with it,” Vanattia said. “It’s hard at times when you’re talking to your classmates as their director, but it went OK.”
    Townson said it helped her to go through the dramatic literature program at The Learning Center charter school in Murphy to handle directing her peers. “I learned to use director activities that I can do, like walking further and further away and saying ‘I can’t hear you!’ to get them to project,” Townson said. “I also walk away if I am losing interest and it gets them to be more melodramatic. They are good ways to make these activities fun.”
    The playwrights said Lori Coffey was very welcoming in providing the venue.

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