Poway High senior directing own play at PowPAC
By Emily Sorensen
There is a lot of creativity and ambition in senior projects. Some students start charities, some students simply scrape by.
And then there’s Elizabeth Blair Johnson, who wrote and is now directing a full-length play at PowPAC, Poway’s Community Theatre, Friday, Oct. 26 – Sunday, Oct. 28.
Johnson, who has lived in Poway for five years, has taken her required senior project to an entirely new level. Her first play, “A Day in My So-Called Life,” tells the story of one day in the life of high school student Paige Warren, and her brain, which is an entirely separate character. “You can see what she’s thinking,” said Johnson.
The idea came to Johnson while she was taking a drama writing class at Stanford University over the summer. Challenged to write a 10-minute play, Johnson found herself sitting in class completely blocked, until she imagined her brain sitting alongside her, also complaining about not knowing what to write.
Even before her senior project rolled around, Johnson had been planning on working with PowPAC to stage a play. When she decided to expand her short play and direct it, PowPAC was ready to help her out, moving her original two-week slot into a shorter run more proper for a new, debuting show from a new playwright.
“I’d been thinking of [making it a full-length play] since I heard about the senior project,” said Johnson. Mentored at PowPAC by longtime director Jay Mower, Johnson, who had previously been more interested in acting than anything else, found a new talent in directing. “He’s been such a help throughout this project,” said Johnson of Mower. “It’s such an honor that they trust me with all of this.”
Of her first time directing, Johnson said, “It’s really different. It’s been difficult for me to be in the audience, and not on stage.” Johnson said she’d always been interested in pursuing acting, but her parents weren’t as supportive of the idea, especially with how difficult the field is.
Johnson’s dedication hasn’t just impressed her cast and crew at PowPAC, but her friends at school as well. “Everyone I talk to is really, really impressed,” said Johnson, who added that she’s put over 80 hours into her senior project so far, much exceeding the required 20. “My friends are mostly impressed that I already have all my hours done,” Johnson said.
Though she’s enjoying the production of her play, Johnson said she thinks this will be her only play for the year, as she is extremely busy with college applications, Future Farmers of America, and being on the dive team. Still, she plans to major in directing and screen writing at college, though she also hopes to act. “I like theater more, because it’s more magical, and more high-stakes,” said Johnson. “But you can do so much with film, that’s also really fun.”
If she doesn’t go into acting, Johnson said she will stay in film. “There are more job opportunities [in film and television],” said Johnson. “I would love to write a movie.”
Short URL: http://www.pomeradonews.com/?p=29730