Choi scripts new stage play

Sophomore Emma Choi features in an untitled self-produced film for a Scholastic competition. She will take on similar roles when she helps the director of her stage play “Good Neighbors” prepare for its release.

Many of sophomore Emma Choi’s hobbies stemmed from a lifelong love for the arts, especially writing and theatre. Passionate perseverance has granted her the opportunity to have her own original play published off Broadway.

Choi has a long list of successes and affiliations with the arts. Since last year, Choi has run a satirical online news outlet called The Griffin. Along with this, she has a long standing career in theater, both within school and in the community. But her most recent success was on March 14, when she was awarded the golden key at The Scholastic Art and Writing Award for excellence in fictional writing and poetry.

The outcome of all these interests was Choi’s introduction into the art of playwriting.

“I’m actually not completely sure when or how I got in so deep. In the words of John Green, I got into playwriting ‘like the way you fall asleep, slowly and then all at once,’” Choi said. “I’ve always loved theatre and cinema and I work in a lot of other genres like poetry and fiction, so when I finally churned out my first play, it made sense.”

Choi participates in the Writopia Labs program, an organization dedicated to providing  adolescents with a creative outlet. With help from her Writopia instructor, she entered her play into the Writopia Worldwide Ten Minute Plays Festival. She won and the play debuted in New York City last Wednesday and Saturday.

There was a lot of work, however,  that went into creating Choi’s show “Good Neighbors.” Choi’s greatest struggle was getting started in the writing process.

“Writing is very draining because you basically pour a little of yourself into your words, so choosing an idea that’s worth the investment, both emotionally and time-wise, is very stressful,” Choi said.

Writopia’s festival theme for 2016 was community, which helped give Choi a starting point in how she would approach the story. Choi based her 10 minute play in an apartment complex, viewing only one character as she listens in on her two neighbors on either side of her.  What makes Choi’s story unique, however, is the satirical nature of the story.

“I think a lot of writers take themselves too seriously, especially when writing dramatic pieces,” Choi said. “So I wrote this play to be a kind of satirical take on the conventional romantic comedy, poking fun at the Nicholas Sparks and Sarah Dessen types.”

Choi highlights her love for satire through her character Bobby.

“He just comes in and destroys the sappiness,” Choi said. ”He’s common sense personified because he interrupts a totally unrealistic conversation.”

At the end of it all, Choi will get to provide a helping hand in the production process prior to its general release to the public.

“I recently had a long phone call with my director last week where we talked about actors, staging, costumes and other things, I’ll be going up next week to attend a rehearsal,” Choi said.