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Grade 9 student recognized for playwriting expertise

Posted on Jun 28, 2024
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Grade 9 St. Mary's fine arts academy student Caroline Schultz was recognized at the Pilot Lights Theatre Festival for a production she wrote and directed called "Game, Set, Match.

Grade 9 student recognized for playwriting expertise

Story Written by Brendan Miller, Medicine Hat News - June 28, 2024.

When St. Mary’s fine arts academy student Caroline Schultz sat down with her fellow classmates after Christmas break to choose the next royalty-free play the school would perform for an upcoming spring show, her teacher asked the class if anyone wanted to write a play instead.

“That idea made me so excited,” says Schultz, who enjoys writing along with video production and editing during her spare time.

“Sometimes I just need an outlet. I used to write little paragraphs and then I started doing screenplays for fun.”

Schultz approached her drama teacher Kayla Lukacs with her idea of writing a play about a protagonist who was invited to his girlfriend’s family game night and thinks he will be meeting her parents for the first time.

“It’s just so weird how families behave when any of my siblings or any of the cousins bring over a new girlfriend or boyfriend,” jokes Schultz about the play’s inspiration. “It’s always so awkward for them because everybody’s trying to get along, but my family is a little odd.”

The production “Game, Set, Match” comedically follows the protagonist through an uneasy family dinner.

“But then we find out that he’s actually meeting all of her family,” explains Schultz. “And in order to continue dating her he has to play a game that involves (the entire family) to win them all over.”

It was a long road however, to transform an idea into a full-stage production. Schultz was inspired by the task and spent hours of her free time writing dozens of drafts that she would then revise, taking in valuable criticism from her teacher and fellow classmates.

“She worked on it on her own time and she would bring it to me and I would revise it or look at it and give her my suggestions,” says Lukacs. “She’s very dedicated and had a very clear vision in her head of what she wanted it to look like.”

Throughout the experience Schultz says she grew not only as a writer, but as a director. Once the play was written Schultz casted her fellow classmates to bring her vision to life, and she says they didn’t leave her disappointed.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better cast if I’m being 100 per cent honest. It was incredible how they managed to portray the anxiety,” says Schultz “My cast totally brought it alive, I could not believe how well they did. My show would be absolutely dead in the water if it weren’t for them.”

‘Game, Set, Match’ was performed on stage at the Esplanade during the Pilot Lights Theatre Festival, which serves as an award ceremony for high school shows.

“I tear up in the booth a little bit, because it’s not only my debut for something I wrote, but it’s also kind of my last hurrah in Medicine Hat because I’m actually moving to the States in a month.”

Schultz received an award for Outstanding Technical Elements from the Pilot Lights Theatre Festival for the production.

“At the end there was so much pride for everybody who brought it to life.”

The Grade 9 graduate says she hopes to find her way into the film industry in the future and wants to write and make movies that “have emotions and perspectives that really aren’t put in movies often.”

During a recent production for a CFL song that was shot in Medicine Hat a week ago, Schultz had the opportunity to act as the third assistant to the director, providing a unique real-life experience into video production.

“Setting it up and watching it happen, I could not believe how legitimate it was. It was just amazing seeing the equipment and it gave me a perspective of what film crews are kind of like.”

Schultz says when she arrives at her new high school in Indiana next fall she plans to enrol in theatre arts and choral extra curricular classes to continue her education and interest in film production.

“That’s my dream. One day.”