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Cedarbrook’s Isabella Rey Earns Spot in Philly Young Playwrights’ Mouthful Monologue Festival

Isabella Rey Eighth grader Isabella Rey is on a roll, having recently published “Tibiri’s Adventure,” a book originally penned as a play about her godfather’s dog. Her latest accomplishment is earning a spot in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ (PYP) Mouthful Monologue Festival at the Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake (341 S Hicks St, Philadelphia) from Thursday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, March 9.

Rey’s monologue, Becoming Friends with David Copperfield, will have six public performances, and Rey will collaborate with a professional director, professional actor and dramaturg to prepare her monologue for the stage. Each fall, Philadelphia Young Playwrights sends teaching artists and actors into classrooms to facilitate monologue-writing workshops with students in grades 8-12. Actors perform past-winning monologues to illustrate what monologues are and how they can vary greatly in tone and style. The teaching artists work with students to write monologues. The final Committee, which includes PYP alumni and staff, decide what monologues will be developed and produced for a live audience at the festival. Rey’s monologue made it through this rigorous process.

An entirely new work, Becoming Friends with David Copperfield centers on a 40-something children’s magician Clive, who hates children. He wants to become “friends” (read: kidnap) with his idol, David Copperfield. Clive believes kidnapping Copperfield will cure his loneliness and garner him fame and respect in the magic industry.

“Clive is a funny character,” said Rey, who’s been involved with the PYP since third grade. “He can ramble on for a short period of time and attract the attention of the audience when he’s the standalone guy on stage. He works well in a monologue format, so I'm glad I chose to work with him.”

Inspiration for Clive struck Rey in creative writing when the class was talking about character “wants,” as opposed to character desires, which are usually the driving point of a story. The students examined a document full of characters, and wrote what each character wanted based on a short description. The character “Clive, 43; magician at kids’ parties” struck a chord and when Rey read the word “magic,” David Copperfield popped into her head. She wrote Clive wanted to do a show with David Copperfield.

“The monologue kind of transformed into more than that,” Rey joked. “A story started forming in my head about this really pathetic guy who had devoted his life to magic and only scored a gig as a children’s magician, and somehow conceived in his mind that the solution to all of his woes was to kidnap Copperfield. It's kind of a weird topic for a play, but I think it worked out.”