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Theatre Tue Dec 31 2013

Three Young Playwrights Awarded by Pegasus Players

photo (24).JPG
Lauren Trifunovich is one of three winners of the 27th Annual Playwrights Festival - photo by Ilesa Duncan

Sometimes, procrastination pays off. Lincoln Park High School senior Lauren Trifunovich wrote one of the best original student plays of the year in a mere 20 minutes.

Ms. Kosari, Trifunovich's creative writing teacher at Lincoln Park, asked her students to write an original one-act play for class. She encouraged everyone to submit their best work, so she could enter the scripts in the 27th Annual Young Playwrights Festival competition. Trifunovich -- a self-proclaimed procrastinator -- started her piece on the day of the deadline and completed it in less time than it takes most high school students to eat lunch. Little did she know that the characters she penned would come to life in several months -- and she would be sitting in the director's chair.

The 18-year-old is one of three winners; she was awarded both $500 and the chance to work alongside a theater professional to put on a full production of her play at Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence, for a month-long run.

"I was speechless, it took me a while to wrap my head around actually winning something," Trifunovich says. "I haven't won many competitions or anything of that sort ever."

Her script titled The Diner competed with more than 700 plays written by high school students around the city. Local actors JJ McCormick and Susan Myburgh will star in Trifunovich's play, which is set in a small town diner in the '60s.

Pegasus Players' artistic director Ilesa Duncan is also working with Trifunovich on her production of The Diner. She says there are three rounds of competition before winners are awarded. During the last round, or the final round celebration, excerpts of the final plays are performed in a staged reading for students, parents and a panel of judges.

This year, there were three female winners and three female directors. Alexus Williams from Whitney Young High School and Clare McKitterick from Lane Tech High School also won the grand prize for their plays Senioritis and Fears for Fairy Tales, respectively.

Having worked as the director of the festival for the last eight years and producer for the last four, Duncan has witnessed some wonderful reactions from both students and parents alike.

"Last year, one of our winners, Marques Alexander Jackson [from Senn High School] said, 'It changed my life, and I honestly see play writing as an important part of my future,'" says Duncan. "We had a student whose play was about sexual abuse. This writer was very wary of family reaction, but it turned out to be really healing. A recent student was having issues with a parent accepting them as an artist, and the writing he's doing is helping him deal with that pain."

Above all else, the opportunity to put on her own production is invaluable to Trifunovich. The best moment thus far, she says, is watching the actors work through her script.

"Watching them become close with each other as well as the characters that they played made me sit in awe," she says. "It made me proud and very lucky to have this opportunity to share this experience with these great people."

Previews will be held Jan. 2-4 at 7:30pm. The opening performance will take place on Jan. 5 at 3pm., and the regular run from Jan. 10-26 on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for students and $20 for seniors. You can purchase them online or by calling 773-878-8864. Visit the Pegasus Players website for more information on the 27th Young Playwrights Festival,.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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