FEATURE: From the Page to Stage

Student playwrights develop second act script for this weekend’s Griffin Theatre performances


play rehearsal


When the Griffin Theatre opens its run this weekend of Aesop’s (Oh So Slightly Updated) Fairy Tales, a group of budding playwrights will have a watchful eye on the stage. The play opens on January 30th at 7:30 pm, and continues on Saturday, January 31st with shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on Sunday, February 1 at 2 p.m.

When the show was being developed, it provided Griffin Theatre Director Al Book with a unique challenge.
“It was too short,” he said.

Thus was born an idea that took a group of seniors in Mr. Eric Sargent’s writing class and turned them into playwrights.

“He needed a second act, and he found an old children’s book as (Al) was cleaning out boxes at home that he thought could be adapted for the stage,” Sargent explained.

The idea for a second, shorter play to accompany the Aesop’s production was hatched. The second play is “The Big Bad Pig and the Three Little Wolves,” a children’s book the group of students adapted and brought to the stage.

“I had never done anything like this before,” said Ryan Cariolano, a senior. “It was fun coming together as a team to write this for the stage.”

Dominic Biffignani, a senior, describes the process like “building a mosaic.”

“There were different ideas, different writing styles all thrown together and we pieced it together into the final product,” he said.

Jeff Boelter, a senior, explained that each writer provided his own draft of the script and through the process of collaboration, they picked and pulled pieces from each script and developed the final draft.

“We had an idea of what we wanted it to look like, but by the end, it was pretty different than what we started out with,” he said.

True to form, Mr. Book provided a wrinkle to the writing team. Once the writing team turned the final play in, the student-writers would not see it or be aware of any changes made to it until they saw it on stage themselves.

“Once I got the script from them, there were some obvious edits that needed to be made – this was written as a literature piece and not a dramatic piece to be performed on a stage,” Mr. Book said. “But it was really well done. We had to work a little with character development but it was a solid effort and a fun project. It will be exciting for them to see their work go from the page to the stage.”

The process of writing for this medium was eye-opening, the students said. Biffignani noted, “as you are writing this, you always had to think about what the next step in the story would be.”

The Big Bad Pig and the Three Little Wolves:

Kyle Stiebel
Spencer Peterson
Brady Dickison
Chad Barton
Dominic Biffignani
Jeff Boelter
Ryan Cariolano
Brad Nelson
Daniel Ulrich
Adam Gilmore
Emil Banaszak
Josh Estes
Jeff Becker
Tyler Passig
Andy Barnes