Attack of the teenaged playwrights

Miscreants on stage: Anastasia Hutnick and a gaggle of actors

Miscreants on stage: Anastasia Hutnick and a gaggle of actors

I spent Tuesday night at Delaware Theatre Company to attend the Delaware Young Playwrights Festival.  While it would be charitable to say that I was there to support the next generation of playwrights, in point of fact, I was there to support one in particular: my cousin, Anastasia Hutnick.  And, while the high-school-ness of the event necessitated a dearth of martinis, there was no shortage of talent.

I don’t remember too much about what my writing was like when I was a teenager, but generally, I recall having a lot of terrific ideas, lacking the skills to adequately convey them, and being pretty pissed off about it.  I don’t know what DTC did to these kids, but they managed to wring some genuine game out of them, and I couldn’t be prouder of my kick-ass cousin, who took second place at the festival.

For one thing, she has a much better name than I do.  How can you not see a play by Anastasia Hutnick?  It’s like not seeing a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  It simply can’t be done.

For another, she’s crazy talented…a much better writer than when I was her age.  I fear I may have an undue influence on her, because her play landed firmly into the abstract if not absurdist, and I’m sorry, but a sixteen-year-old should be writing about dating or homework or puppies, not constructing an allegory about the dehumanizing prisons we build for ourselves within a monotonous, eat-sleep-work society.  I’m considering hiring her to do my taxes next year.  Or, possibly, assassinate all my enemies.

Special thanks to Delaware Theatre Company for putting this thing together.  I know the kids learned a hell of a lot, but on a selfish level, I just flat-out enjoyed myself.

I wrote my first full-length when I was in college, so I’m hopeful that my cousin’s first foray into a longer format is around the corner, because I’m curious as hell to see what she’ll do with the extra time and space.  I’m happy that DTC is around to guide her on her way.

Anastasia Hutnick and Nicholas Wardigo

Playwrights Anastasia Hutnick and Nicholas Wardigo (Tasha is the one in the tiny hat)

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