For many students at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Traumbauer is a stressful, but fun time of year. Traumbauer is a statewide theater competition where students showcase their talents; whether that be acting, writing, or technical theatre. This year, four BTW Creative Writing playwrights joined in and took part in the competition. Alexandria Hale and Kayla Williams represented the senior class while Lillie-Marie Johnson and Keyanna Dixon represented for the juniors.
In order to prepare for their big day, these four students had to send in a one-act play that showed their writing skill. Judges then read each play and left comments that would go on to be a part of the overall critique. Students had a chance to received one of three different designations: Good (bronze), Excellent (silver), and Superior (gold). Students whose plays were rated as Superior then have the opportunity to compete on the state-wide level of the competition. Our girls brought home three excellent medals and one superior medal!
When asked about her experience, Lillie-Marie Johnson, whose play received an Excellent distinction, said, “Trumbauer was an amazing experience that I would like to try again. I enjoyed being able to not only participate in the playwriting contest, but be able to watch my peers [in the theatre magnet] perform. Although there was a bunch of walking and trying not to tell myself that there is no schedule to follow, I enjoyed being able to just watch and take in the talent around me.”
Keyanna Dixon, a junior whose play was rated Superior, added, “Traumbauer was great! You got to watch whatever you wanted to with respect to your own performance, and everyone was really nice.”
Alexandria Hale, another recipient of an Excellent rating, told me, “I was a little nervous at first because it was so new, but also excited. I was looking forward to discussing my play with the judges. As a writer you never really get to talk to the reader about your work. Writers don’t get the luxury of applause after creating a great story, so it was really assuring for them to say how much they enjoyed my work. I looked at what they had to say about plot and dialogue, but the comments at the end shocked me. One judge in particular who gave me a hard time about my ending ended his critique with two words: Keep writing. Whether he meant to finish the story or to continue to write in general didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that someone thought I did a good enough job telling a story that they wanted to hear more from me. And that’s all a writer can ask for.”
Finally, Kayla Williams’ play was also designated as Excellent, and she had this to say: “We got there and already you could tell it was very theatre-centric, which is understandable. The whole point of Trumbauer is obviously to audition, but also to watch people’s auditions. It was really cool, but you could tell the playwrights were just, like, a last thought.”
Williams commented on having to wait for the judges to finish reading the plays, then “they talked to us on some bleachers in the gym and asked some questions. It was really chill and free.”
Overall, each of these proud playwrights had a similar feeling about the day: they were nervous at first, but as the day went on they had a wonderful time. We are so proud of our fellow Creative Writing students, and we can’t wait to see what else they do throughout the years!