Rocky Fork Enterprise

Columbus Children's Theatre

Troupe to perform plays penned by Royal Manor students


Two young writers from Gahanna's Royal Manor Elementary School will see their stories come to life on stage this weekend, thanks to Columbus Children's Theatre's Child Writing Project.

From a pool of about 1,000 entries to the theater company's 29th annual Child Writing Project, When Everyone went Crazy, by 9-year-old Kayla El-Alawa, and Super Will, by 11-year-old Jeff Picou, were chosen as scripts for the company's touring season that began March 1 and continues through January 2014.

The theme of this season's writing project is Family Tales.

The premiere performance will be before an invited audience to include the student authors, their families and friends, and educators. It will be held at 1 p.m. March 9 at The King Arts Complex, 867 Mt. Vernon Ave.

Picou, a fifth-grader in Leslie Kastner's class, said his story is about stretching the imagination.

"It's about a kid named Will who wakes up to a large meteorite striking the earth," he said. "He comes to a portal, and dinosaurs start coming out. Then awhile later, when the dinosaurs start going back in the portal, he wakes up."

Picou said he's very curious to see how his tale unfolds on stage.

El-Alawa, a fourth-grader in Janet Hughes' class, said her story features an alien theme on a Wacky Wednesday.

"I forgot about alien day, and my friends were all talking weird," she said. "I couldn't find the principal and got scared, so I hid in the janitor's closet."

After hearing her cries, a classmate finds her and asks what's wrong.

She's then reminded that it's alien day at school.

"The meaning of the story is about friendship," she said.

"We congratulate your students for their original work," said Ryan Scarlata, CCT education director. "We also commend Royal Manor's Ms. Janet Hughes, Mrs. Leslie Kastner and all the participating teachers, for without their effort and encouragement in the area of creative writing, these accomplishments would not have been possible."

Other central Ohio winning entries include Vacation! Maybe Next Year, by William Harrington, of Olentangy Local's Johnnycake Corners Elementary School; Stranger Danger, by Jenna Justice, of Willis Intermediate School in Delaware; The Nut Case, by Anna Stathulis, Lauren Harris and Cassie Mohr, of Westerville's Hanby Elementary School; A Christmas Disaster, by Sydney Tyson and Zelphia Bargar, of Hanby Elementary School; Papa's Candy Sensation, by Piper Farrell, of the Wellington School; Brother, Sister and Baby, by Tess Bolen, of Westerville's Mark Twain Elementary School; The Time My Grandpa Spilled Hot Coffee, by Maggie Deel, of Marysville's Northwood Elementary School; and Turkey Thanksgiving, by Max Zahner, of Johnnycake Corners Elementary School.

The winning selections were based on originality, honesty of expression, dramatic interest, stage ability and compatibility with other pieces under consideration, according to Scarlata. All stories selected are printed in a teacher study distributed to every school that schedules a performance.

Schools with winning entries receive a discount if they choose to book a performance of the writing project that's also available to libraries and community organizations through January.