Aptos High grad’s play to hit the stage

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Chosen from 432 scripts in contest

Kiegan Lee spent the entirety of her time as an Aptos High School student involved with theater.

She helped with sound design, served as a volunteer and held onstage roles, most notably as the female lead in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Lee, 18, is now studying theater sound design at University of Southern California, far from the place she grew up.

But she received a phone call recently that, in a way, brought her back to her high school days and gave her a first taste of recognition outside of a school community.

That’s when she learned that a one-act play she wrote as a senior was selected to be performed by a professional theater company during the 33rd annual festival of Plays by Young Writers in January.

Presented by the San Diego nonprofit Playwrights Project, the festival will take place at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego from Jan. 18-27.

Contest winners were selected from 432 plays submitted by students from across California. Four scripts will receive full professional productions, and two scripts will receive staged readings in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

According to Playwrights Project spokeswoman Emily Fleet, selection criteria focused on creative ideas, intriguing and authentic characters, fresh use of language, a story that is revealed through dialogue and action, and a script that would benefit from further development in the production process.

“I was really excited,” Lee said. “It was definitely exciting.”

She said her play, “Sina and the Eel,” is a modern version of a story in Samoan mythology that explains the origin of the coconut tree. It focuses on a young woman who seeks to solve her island’s famine, and gets mixed up with an eel god in the process.

She said she spent a little more than two months writing the play for her advanced theatrical production class, but decided she didn’t want to stop there.

“I decided if I was going to write it, I should submit it to a contest,” she said.

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For information, visit www.playwrightsproject.org.

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