The Blue & Gold
Osman recognized by Student Playwright Project Tuesday, May 22, 2007 By Emily Heldman, Copy Editor
Gaithersburg High School junior Sarah Osman wrote a play that won an honorable mention in the Student Playwright Project. The play, “The Hotel Theresa,” was read by professional actors at a reading on May 9. The Student Playwright Project that held the contest, through an Arena Stage program, helps students with skills such as acting, playwriting, creativity and stage direction. Any school can apply and ten schools are selected to participate. GHS was selected for the 2006-2007 school year. Kristina Friedgen, a University of Maryland student, came in as a teaching artist and worked with drama teacher Melissa Spadin and her classes. Each student wrote a ten minute play and Osman’s was selected as one of the ten honorable mentions at the high school level. There were 600 entries. Osman says that she was inspired to write the play when she read a book about the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, NY. “The Hotel Theresa,” entails the story about a young woman named Jessie James who comes from Macon, Ga. in the 1940s to live at the Hotel Theresa as she attends New York University. There, she strikes up a friendship with Lana Anderson, a woman in her forties who turns out to be connected to the mysterious murder of Jason James, Jessie’s brother. History teacher Nicole Murray-Lewis attended the play reading. “(Sarah’s) was really good,” says Murray-Lewis. “It was very serious for such a young person. It had so much depth and insight. I was glad I went.” Osman says that she has always liked acting and performing, as well as writing. She says that she sees playwriting as a way to combine her two interests. “I was surprised and excited that out of all the people, I got chosen. I was pretty shocked,” says Osman. “I didn’t know how it would be received. It was a hard drama to take. I think people were surprised it was not a comedy.” Spadin was very impressed with Osman’s work. “Her play was very grown up, very adult. It mimics a lot of older films like ‘Sunset Boulevard.’” “First and foremost, I would like to thank God for all his wonderful blessings and my family and friends for their support,” says Osman. “I would (also) like to thank Ms. Spadin for entering my play in the competition.” Osman says she would like to continue to write plays, but not as a full time profession. Osman enjoys reading novels and watching old movies. She is also very interested in politics and would like to become a congresswoman.