The Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) celebrates the 35th year of inspiring Chicago students to explore their histories, research their communities and mine their personal journeys to write dynamic one-act plays for the stage. YPF is the only event of its kind in Chicago and is the second largest in the country.
The 35th Young Playwrights Festival features three one-act plays grappling with judgement and perception. The 35th YPF is a recorded, fully staged theatrical experience streaming virtually and performed in tandem Thursdays – Sundays.
The winning playwrights’ productions are work-shopped and professional produced with full casts and production teams. The competition received nearly 300 submissions in 2021 with this year’s selections.
This year’s winning plays:
THE LITTLE THINGS by Laylah Freeman, Advanced Arts/Gallery 37, teacher Sarah Mostad | directed by Christian Helem
It’s Christmas 1950, chestnuts are roasting, but Minerva Spencer is busy dodging her mother’s match-making while she mourns her deceased high school boyfriend, Ben Crawford.
HAVE FAITH by Sarah Lerner, Whitney Young Magnet High School-teacher Elizabeth Danesh | directed by ILesa Duncan
While studying a Latin homework assignment, a Catholic University student accidentally summons a demon to her dorm room.
FIFTEEN MINUTES By Dalya Lessem Elnecave, Lane Tech College Prep, teacher-Kirsten Hanson | directed by Ruben Carrazana
Five people in a park must frantically decide what to do when receiving devastating news.
Be sure to witness the startling and fresh results while enjoying an evening of theater from tomorrow’s stars in the comfort of your home!
ABOUT PEGASUS THEATRE CHICAGO
Pegasus Theatre Chicago has been a mainstay in the Chicago theater communityfor more than four decades. Its mission is to champion new, authentic voices and produce boldly imaginative theatre primarily by and about black, indigenous or other people of color (BIPOC). Home of the Young Playwrights Festival, the company promotes cultural equity while celebrating diversity, inclusion, and first voice. Pegasus is also committed to initiating important conversations through the arts with strong community engagement and socially relevant programming. Pegasus Theatre Chicago has received 77 Joseph Jefferson Awards since its inception.
Be sure to witness the amazing results of these writers professional debut and enjoy an evening of theater from tomorrow’s stars.
Virtual Performance Tickets: Adults: $25 | Pay-What-You-Can (Suggested $15)
Student Matinee Tickets: teachers and school administrators should contact email@example.com.
About the Production Team
RUBEN CARRAZANA (Director – Fifteen Minutes) is an actor, director, writer, producer and teaching artist originally from Miami. He is a recent transplant to Chicago after working professionally in the Dallas theater scene for several years. He has worked with such theatres as Dallas Theater Center, Stage West, Kitchen Dog Theater, Undermain Theatre, Second Thought Theatre and Theatre Three. As a writer, Carrazana has been commissioned by Kitchen Dog Theater and the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. He is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent and is currently the community engagement manager at Northlight Theatre. He holds a BFA in Theatre from Southern Methodist University.
CHRISTIAN HELEM (Director – The Little Things) Christian Helem is a theatre artist primarily directing, playwriting and acting. Directing credits include: The Project(s) (Stage Left), Marcus; or the Secret of the Sweet (Pride Arts), the musical 21 Chump Street (Counter Collective), a queer version of The Glass Menagerie, and assistant directing for Middle Passage (Lifeline) and A View From the Bridge. He is the competition director of the Chicago August Wilson Monologue Competition, associate board president at Jackalope Theater and teaches playwriting at ChiArts High School.
ILESA DUNCAN (Director-Have Faith) is Pegasus’ executive/producing director where recent directing work includes Jeff Nominated Eclipsed (and Theatre on the Lake), Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, and The Green Book, as well as The Green Book, and For Her as a Piano. Other credits include Middle Passage (reopening in April 2022) and Neverwhere at Lifeline Theatre (Jeff-Recommended), The Nativity with Congo Square and Jar the Floor at ETA Creative Arts. Duncan has also worked with The Goodman, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Stage Left and Chicago Dramatists, and regionally with Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio). The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC) and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). She wrote lyrics and co-adapted Middle Passage from Charles Johnson’s National Book Award-winning novel Middle Passage, co-wrote and directed Blakk Love: Storeez of A Darker Hue and facilitated the devised project Do You See What I’m Saying for Chameleon. ILesa’s creative nonfiction short stories have been published and she’s written poems and screenplaysDuncan is the artistic director at Lifeline Theatre.
About the Artists
John Drea returns to Pegasus after last year’s YPF 34. Chicago credits include The Sound Inside (Goodman Theatre); Whose Body? (Lifeline Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing (Goodly Creatures Theatre); Free Space and White Elephant (Possibilities Theatre); Fresh Air (Victory Gardens Theater); Game of Tiaras (Surging Films & Theatrics); Grandma Rosa (DavJasFran); Love Ben, Love Emma (Wayward Sisters Theatre). Off-off Broadway credits include OneIronaut (The Outer Loop). Television credits include Ashley Green and This Must Be the Place. He is a graduate of the London Dramatic Academy and is represented by Big Mouth Talent. @johndrea1998
Sebastien Garbe is excited to be making his Pegasus Theatre Chicago debut! Sebastien graduated Boston University mid-pandemic with a dual degree in Acting and Political Science and a dance minor. Having been involved in several new works both in university and post-grad, Sebastien is thrilled to be part of the exciting play development process made possible by Pegasus’s 35th Young Playwrights Festival! Past credits include the world premiere of Grimm (Theatre Above The Law), The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (Improv Playhouse TYA), and a workshop of Blood Of My Mother’s (Wayward Sisters Theatre Ensemble). Website: sebastiengarbe.com | Instagram: @sebbiegee
Willow James is a theatre artist, photographer, and podcast host/producer from the Chicagoland area. Passionate about new works and amplifying historically underserved communities, he is thrilled to make his Pegasus debut. Recent sound design credits include for Goods(Artemisia Theatre), A Recipe For Disaster (Windy City Playhouse), and The Humans (Redtwist Theatre). Recent directing credits include Colorblind Casting (Perceptions Theatre) and Aftermath (Artemisia Theatre). He is proudly the resident sound designer at Artemisia Theatre. Connect with Willow at willow-james.org
MarieAnge Louis-Jean is an ascending actor, dancer & writer. They’re born, raised & based in Chicago. Louis-Jean graduated class of 2020 from UIC with a BFA in acting & is now thriving in their art with Gill Talent Agency. Their next steps are to gain more training in acting and further their foothold in the literary world.
Emma Marie Montoya is a queer actor, writer and artist who is so excited to be making her Chicago debut with Pegasus Theatre! From their hometown of Santa Fe, NM to Orange County, CA where they graduated from UC Irvine, Emma has always been passionate about acting, writing, and bringing life to new work. Some of Emma’s favorite credits include: Macbeth (Lady Macbeth), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Kayleen), and her work in performance and leadership with the neo-futurist collective Schrodinger’s Cast Presents 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.
Shariba Rivers is thrilled to be a part of these young artists journey through Pegasus Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival. Rivers is a Chicago-based actor who has most recently performed with Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre (in cooperation with Classical Theatre of Harlem) in their Expand the Canon series reading of Foriwa. She has also been seen in several of Sideshow Theatre Company’s House Party readings, most recently The Whisperer’s Apprentice. In the past year, she has worked at Goodman Theatre, Theatre Squared (Fayetteville, AK), Artemisia Theatre, Street Corner Arts (Austin, TX) and others. Pre-pandemic performances include The Tasters (Rivendell Theatre) and Hoodoo Love (Raven Theatre), for which she earned a Jeff nomination and a BTAA nomination. Shariba voices one of the main characters, Lily Harper, in the audio drama, Unwell: A Midwestern Gothic Mystery, for which she won an AudioVerse award. Her TV credits include Chicago Fire, Empire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, and The Chi. Shariba is represented by Gray Talent Group. www.sharibatheactor.com
William Anthony Sebastian Rose, II A Chicago based actor most recently featured in the audio drama Kingdom as the NFL superstar Malik (Broken Nose Theater). He is featured in the Chicago Maritime Museum historic exhibit as The Founder of Chicago Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, as well as Kunoichi Productions virtual production of The True Tale of Princess Kaguya. Chicago Credits include: a still wet behind the ears loan officer in Labyrinth (Broken Nose Theater) a man searching for his truth in The First Deep Breath (Victory Gardens Theater) a dilettante English lord fancying himself an amateur sleuth in Whose Body (Lifeline Theater) a forgotten political prisoner fighting for change in We Are Pussy Riot (Red Tape Theater) an undercover anarchist in The Man Who Was Thursday. Represented by Big Mouth Talent Agency
LaRose Washington (Understudy) is excited and honored to be participating in the Young Playwrights Festival again. She loves being able to bring the writing of these young talents to life. Recently, LaRose was seen in Avalanche Theatre’s new work Where The Air Meets The Water. Other recent credits include: Hark (Avalanche Theatre), Bunny’s Book Club (Lifeline Theatre), and Happy Birthday Mars Rover (The Passage Theatre). Larose received her B.A. in Theatre from the University of Southern California and is repped by BMG Talent. She would like to thank her family and friends for their constant support, especially throughout this crazy time. And with that being said, she hopes that you enjoy this virtual adventure!