Philadelphia Teen Wins Constitution Center’s Playwriting Contest

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new play opened today at the National Constitution Center that is the work of a Philadelphia high school student who won a competition sponsored by the center.

And the final work is now a full-scale, professional production.

(A scene from "Com[promising] Future," by Angela Bey.   Photo by Pat Loeb)

(A scene from “Com[promising] Future,” by Angela Bey. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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“Com[promising] Future” explores the famous exchange between Ben Franklin and Elizabeth Powel — the woman who asked, “What kind of government have you given us?”

To which Franklin replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

Playwright Angela Bey won the NCC’s “Founding Freedoms” contest by framing the story with high school students cramming for a history final.

(A scene from "Com[promising] Future," by Angela Bey.   Photo by Pat Loeb)

(A scene from “Com[promising] Future,” by Angela Bey. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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Director David O’Connor hired professional actors and a dramaturg for rewrites.

“It’s been a really fun process,” he said today, acknowledging, “We’ve made a lot of changes, as we do with any new play.”

The result is a tight, 23-minute performance.

“I’ve never been more nervous than seeing my piece and my words on stage,” Bey admitted.  And she is thrilled with the result.

“Having an opportunity this young is something that I didn’t think I would be able to do, especially with something as big as the National Constitution Center behind me,” she said.  “It’s so inspirational and motivating for me.”

The play runs until August first.

Bey, who just graduated from Friends Select School, will be going to Ursinus College in the fall.

 

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