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Gainesville teen’s original play selected for national performance at festival

POSTED: May 16, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/The Times

Issac "I.B." Hopkins, a junior at Gainesville High School, has been selected as one of four finalists in the 2011 Thespian Playworks Program, which is sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association.

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Pretty soon, Issac "I.B." Hopkins will have accomplished something that some people twice his age have only dreamed about.

In just a few short weeks, the 17-year-old’s original play will be performed on stage by professional actors.

Hopkins, a junior at Gainesville High School, has been selected as one of four finalists in the 2011 Thespian Playworks Program, which is sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association.

"I’m very excited," Hopkins said.

Playworks is a nationwide play writing and script-development contest for high school students. It takes place during the Thespian Festival on June 20-25, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

During the festival, Hopkins will get the opportunity to work with a professional director and a cast of actors who will bring his words to life in front of a live audience. He will also get the opportunity to receive guidance from a working playwright who will serve as a mentor and script adviser.

"I’m really interested in hearing what the professionals have to say about how my script functions and the plausibility of the characters," Hopkins said.

"I’m really looking forward to getting that feedback."

Although this will be his first time having his work reviewed by professionals, it isn’t the first time that Hopkins has seen his scripts play out on stage.

"Last November, we produced three of my short plays," said Hopkins, who is a member of the Gainesville High drama department.

"It was a lot of fun to see my script up and functioning."

The school’s drama department will be acting out a few more of Hopkins’ scripts in the fall.

Once he commits to putting pen to paper, Hopkins says it usually takes him around three months to complete a script. He’s currently working on his seventh play.

"I started writing plays in 2008 because of (GHS drama director Pam) Ware," Hopkins said.

"She encouraged me to write and to stick with it. Whenever I get stuck, she always has words of encouragement."

Hopkins says the ideas for his scripts come from everywhere.

"Sometimes they come from interesting things I see or dreams that keep me up at night," Hopkins said.

"Anytime I have an idea, I scribble it down and it often ends up in a show somewhere. My friends and family have started saying things like, ‘I don’t want to see this in one of your plays.’"



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