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Experimental Play Writing: From Ancient Greece to Contemporary America

Ethan is a 19 year-old student from Hong Kong.
High School
Choate Rosemary Hall
Student review
I had used my plays as writing supplements in my application to Princeton, where I was accepted—a huge thank you to my mentor Liz! She made the pieces much stronger than they were originally. She also saw the potential in them, which was really great because sometimes there's a lot of self-doubt involved in the creative process. That positive feedback always meant a lot to me—she saw the potential in my pieces and was willing to work through them with me.

View Polygence scholar page
Project description

Ethan studied some of his favorite Ancient Greek plays and Shakespearean plays, including Oedipus Rex, The Oresteia, as well as King Lear. Through his studies of the literary genre of drama and theater, he was inspired to write and produce his own plays. Throughout his Polygence program, Ethan wrote and workshopped his plays The Diner (inspired in part by Edward Hopper's painting) and Orestes in the Internet. He also wrote a short story about high school, The Frame Between Us.

Experimental Play Writing: From Ancient Greece to Contemporary America
Project outcome

Ethan wrote in his own plays, The Diner and Orestes in the Internet. He subsequently directed, staged, and performed the former at his school’s Fringe Festival, which is completely dedicated to student-written plays and films, and only accepts around four plays to be performed each year. The latter play has been published by the Bluffton University Literary Journal, and his short story has been published by One Story Inc.

Read Ethan's play!

Doctor of Philosophy
English, History, Creative Writing, Arabic, French
European and Middle East History, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, French Literature,
Mentor review

I would like my students to think carefully about why an idea is best expressed through in one way over another, what the value in different types of writing might be, and how the effect might change if we, say, create a play from an idea rather than a poem.

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