Milford High School seniors Kieran Pheasant and Jennifer Rust were just having fun when they submitted plays to the Delaware Young Playwrights Festival.
The Delaware Theatre Company’s takes original plays from students across the state and gives them a chance to be performed by live actors.
According to Carissa Meiklejohn, who mentored the pair, it’s been 17 years since a southern Delaware school took first place. They were two out of five winners in the state. Usually, finalists consist of schools such as Cab Calloway or MOT Charter School.
“We beat those northern schools,” Pheasant said.
This was their second year competing.
This year they sat in the audience watching professional actors—who had looked at and studied their play for a month—perform under the tutelage of a real director.
Only the top five finalists had their plays performed.
Rust is no stranger to acting. She recently played Jane in the school’s rendition of Disney’s Tarzan.
She was recognized for her play “Cross Counter,” which was about a discouraged boxer getting advice from his mentor.
Rust, who played Jane in the school’s recent production of Disney’s Tarzan, was recognized for “Cross Counter,” about a discouraged boxer getting advice from his mentor.
“I’ve always liked dramas and putting myself in other people’s minds,” Rust said. “Even though I’m not into sports or boxing at all I still enjoy watching the struggles and figuring out the mentality of those kinds of people.”
Pheasant’s play took a different, sillier route.
“It was about a puppet that works on a children’s television show, but doesn’t want to do that,” Pheasant said. “So he needs help from his friend to get out of the situation.”
Pheasant’s inspiration came from hours spent watching the Muppets over the years. She’s always loved the Muppets.
“I thought to myself—what if they were real—and [the play] happened,” she said.
They submitted their plays back in October. After being reviewed by professional writers it was returned with revisions.
Rust said seeing her play on stage was a milestone.
“I don’t like having people read my stuff, but while I was watching it I was so happy,” she said.
Pheasant wasn’t looking for any recognition either.
“I thought it would be a lot of fun,” she said. “I wasn’t in for anything else. And I [went to the festival] along with one my best friends.”
Both plan on pursuing careers in screenwriting and art when they graduate.
Principal Shawn Snyder commended their work ethic.
“These two particular kids have been working hard the past couple of years preparing,” Snyder said. “They’ve taken creative writing, they’ve taken drama and a couple of teachers have worked diligently with them.”