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Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Heart Stairway to Heaven

When I teach playwriting classes to high school students, one of my favorite plays to share with them is Gregory Fletcher’s Stairway to Heaven, which won the 2004 National Ten-Minute Play Award at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival.

Students connect to the play – about two teenaged siblings on the morning of their father’s funeral – because the characters are instantly familiar (and their interaction so real) to them. The play’s dialogue is simple, but layered; its structure is very clear; it is funny, sad, sweet, and true – a terrific play to talk about with first-time playwrights. My group at the Academy of the Pacific Rim in Hyde Park, where I am mentoring students for the Massachusetts Young Playwrights’ Project this year, is no exception. They loved it. [Random suggestion: I also like pairing this play with Walt McGough’s Two Socks Discuss Loss, to show students two very different ways of illustrating onstage the ways we move through grief and into the future. Steal this idea!]

Speaking of Stairway to Heaven (and The Kennedy Center), can we just take a moment – especially this week, when we may <ahem> enjoy remembering what a classy awards ceremony looks like – to reflect on the spellbinding awesomeness of Heart saluting Led Zeppelin last December at the Kennedy Center Honors? They even made Robert Plant tear up! Enjoy this “Stairway,” too!

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