Four Saint Stephen’s students have been selected among the eight finalists in Theater Odyssey’s 10th Annual Student 10-Minute Playwriting Festival. Patrick Van Eyck, Jake Pettingell, Lexi Vega, and Elaina Bayard will present their plays live on-stage at the Asolo’s Jane B. Cook Theater in Sarasota on Feb. 5-6.
Entries for the contest were invited from students in grades 9-12 in Sarasota and 15 surrounding counties. The winning playwright receives a $1,000 cash scholarship. Runner-up award is $500. The inaugural festival was held in 2013 and Saint Stephen’s students have won the top prize five times in the nine previous events – most recently in 2018.
Elaina is in her second year as a finalist in the competition. She took runner-up honors in 2021 with her work, “Fermatta.” Her entry this year is “A Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy,” the story of Alice who is the picture of a perfect teenage girl – cheerleader, nuclear family, happy life – but when her beloved dog dies suddenly, she turns to local loner Oliver and some dark magic to fix her first real loss.
Patrick’s play is “The Last Colony,” which tells the tale of a religious group of hopeless colonists on Mars who must overcome a moral and social dilemma to save their chance at life.
Jake will present “The Real World.” Set in a post nuclear war era, a family of four lives together in a military bunker. The older sibling Timothy has a taste for the outside world and is fed up with the “lockdown lifestyle.”
Lexi’s work is “The Unspoken Problem,” and tells the story of Chloe, a hard-working student who encounters a problem with her most recent assignment. According to her teacher, her paper on racism “did not meet the assignment requirements.” Chloe knows that she met all of the requirements and is compelled to challenge the teacher’s claim.