SMC playwright wins regional competition

first_imgWhile most students spent their winter break relaxing and recovering from the stress of finals, Saint Mary’s senior Emily Schmitt received some surprising news that made her break more interesting than usual. In December, Schmitt won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s (KCACTF) Region III full-length playwriting competition for her play “San Luis, 1989.” The play was read at the Region III festival, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign January 3-7. “My play, ‘San Luis, 1989′ is an example of staged journalism,” Schmitt said. “This means that it is based on a true story that I conducted extensive research on.” Her play addresses issues of racial bias and government corruption in regards to poaching in San Luis, Colo., in 1989. Schmitt first learned about the story of San Luis through Susan Baxter, professor of theatre and journalism at Saint Mary’s. Schmitt and Baxter were paired together through a Saint Mary’s Student Independent Study, Teaching and Research (SISTAR) grant project, a program that provides funding for teams of students and professors to conduct research. Schmitt and Baxter collaborated intensely in their research of San Luis, making two trips to Colorado and discussing ways to bring real life events to a stage. “I am working on a book which teaches playwrights to use journalism theory; Emily is my case study,” Baxter said. “We could not be more grateful to Saint Mary’s. If not for SISTAR, the play would not have happened.” Baxter said the selective honor has gone to a graduate student in an MFA playwriting program for the past 10 years. Despite the success of the play thus far, Schmitt said she encountered challenges throughout the process that sometimes made it difficult to persevere. “The biggest challenge for me writing this play was simply not getting discouraged,” she said. Writing a play is a very lonely process, and after the fifth or sixth draft, you start to feel like it’s never going to work.  I call that the ‘dark place’ of the writing process.” But Schmitt said pushing past the isolation and struggles strengthened her skills as a playwright. “After [the ‘dark place’], something always gives way and the words start flowing out,” she said. “That is the best part of writing for me.”­ Baxter agreed that in spite of the obstacles Schmitt met, she was still able to develop as a writer and learn throughout the writing process. “Emily is a self-starter, so I did not have to work very hard at all,” she said. “She jumped in and tried every technique I threw at her.  Not all was useful, of course, but both of us learned mightily from the process.” Schmitt applied to several schools to earn her MFA in playwriting but will not be informed of acceptances until late February. In the meantime, her work with “San Luis, 1989” is not finished, as the play is currently in consideration for two national playwriting awards. “My play is currently competing with the other regional winners for the [Michael Kanin] National Student Playwriting Award,” she said.  “I am also up for the National Partners for the American Theater Playwriting Award, which is granted to a new and original voice in playwriting.” Regardless of the outcome of these awards, Schmitt said she is pleased with how things have turned out so far. She said she hopes more people will become better informed about the issues surrounding San Luis addressed in her play. “The best part about winning this award has really been spreading the word about what happened in San Luis,” she said. “Winning this award is a huge testament to the political power of the stage.”last_img read more

Wenger promises transfer activity

first_img Chief executive Ivan Gazidis may have talked up the Emirates Stadium club’s new “financial firepower” at the end of last season, but so far the only confirmed signing has been France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, and that on a free transfer from Auxerre. Arsenal, who failed to land Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain earlier in the summer, continue to pursue wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, but will have to up their bid to closer to £50million with the Reds unwilling to sell. “He is a very creative player, an instinctive dribbler and for that you need a lot of confidence to be completely efficient. “I felt that in the last six months it was very difficult for him to express his talent in a confident way. “Then you sit there and think, ‘do I bring him back or does he need a new challenge to get that confidence back?’ and I did not want to stop him from getting a new chance.” Arsenal tackle Aston Villa when the new campaign opens this weekend, and Wenger is hoping Arsenal will not be short on numbers. Midfielders Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta have joined England forward Theo Walcott as fitness concerns. Walcott limped out of last night’s 3-2 win over Scotland at Wembley, where he scored England’s first equaliser, with a knee problem, but initially reported no serious concerns. Midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has endured a string of fitness problems, played only the first half by agreement last night, and with Arteta already carrying a knock, Wenger will be keen for any news on the returning Cazorla, who scored in Spain’s friendly in Ecuador. “We have positive news from the players on international duty. All the texts we had have back are okay. The games were quite intense, but we hope everyone comes back in good shape,” Wenger said. “Mikel has a slight thigh problem. We have to check that. I don’t know if he will be out for the weekend. He has a scan today.” Like most Premier League clubs, the midweek internationals played havoc with preparations for the new campaign. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who had impressed during the pre-season tour of Asia, pulled out of the Wales squad with an ankle injury, while reports suggest full-back Bacary Sagna also suffered a similar problem while playing for France against Belgium. Wenger, though, was already counting to be without defensive pair Naco Monreal and captain Thomas Vermaelen, who both have back problems. While full-back Monreal is within a couple of weeks of a return, Belgian centre-half Vermaelen looks set for a continued frustrating spell on the sidelines. “It is difficult to put a timescale on it, but it will be a bit longer. He is progressing okay,” Wenger said. Bayern Munich’s Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo is a target, while 20-year-old Lille winger Florian Thauvin is another said to be on Wenger’s radar, as is Romania forward Ciprian Marica following his release by Schalke. While the Gunners boss clearly is determined to bolster his squad, albeit not in time for next week’s crucial Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbache in Turkey, Wenger accepts patience will be key as the clock ticks down towards the September 2 deadline. “We are active,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “We are in a situation like Manchester United, like Chelsea, where everybody expects signings and at the moment not a lot has happened. “There are 18 days to go, so that is a long time in the transfer market and we will be active. “I cannot certify what the number [of players coming in will be], but we will be active until the end, that is for sure.” Although Wenger may have so far been frustrated in his plans to strengthen the team, at least several fringe players have been taken off the wage bill, with the exits of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh both now confirmed. Wenger feels Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, who signed for Roma in an £8million deal, had been unable to overcome the negativity from some Arsenal supporters. “I made that decision because he looked to play with a lack of confidence, especially at the Emirates,” Wenger said. Manager Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal will continue to be active in the transfer window right up to the deadline – but stressed he could give no guarantees of how many new players the club would be able to sign before September 2. Press Associationlast_img read more

Half of UKs children suffered bullying: survey

first_imgFrom H S Rao London, Sep 14 (PTI) Almost half of UKs children have been bullied with most of the abuse taking place at school, according to a survey. The OnePoll survey, which examined a total 1,500 children, stated that a quarter of young people were picked on because of the way they looked and 13 per cent were targeted because of their weight. The figures stated that nearly 49.6 per cent children aged seven to 18 had been bullied. Most of the abuse took place in schools and the top three places were the playground, during breaks and the classroom, said the survey conducted to launch an awareness campaign Good Morning Britains Action! Against Bullying. “We hope that Good Morning Britains Action! Against Bullying will help raise more awareness around bullying particularly amongst schoolchildren,” Susanna Reid, Good Morning Britain presenter said, adding that the findings were “shocking”. “I wasnt like everybody else, lets put it like that, so I never thought I was going to fit in or do well in life but you always have people be negative, I want people to be positive,” Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh, who was targeted at school, told ITV show. More than 70 per cent of the total children surveyed knew their schools had an anti-bullying policy, but only a quarter thought it was working, the report said. Six out of 10 children said they had seen other people being bullied at their school and 80 per cent of victims said it happened in front of other people, it said. The survey stated that eight out of 10 children had told someone about it and those who did not “didnt think the person would be able to do anything about it”. The campaign is calling on schoolchildren to make a one minute anti-bullying film with the winner being shown in cinemas. PTI HSR MRJ AKJ MRJadvertisementlast_img read more