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Cedarbrook Students Place in Philadelphia Young Playwrights Annual Monologue Festival

pyp and cbk logo(October 12, 2022) A plethora of student-written monologues from Cedarbrook Middle School placed in the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Festival. Natalie Harmon-Ward took first place; Giselle Bonner, Ona Grandey, and Autumn Robinson won second place; and Maliah Opuni and Josephine Semien-Graef earned a third-place finish. 

Harmon-Ward’s “A Witch in the Woods” tells the heartbreaking story of a lonely witch who finds a baby on their doorstep. As they wait to see if someone will come back for the baby, they talk about the town and its cruelty in ousting the witch long ago. When night falls and no one has come for the baby, the witch takes the baby in to live with them. Philadelphia Young Playwrights will produce Harmon-Ward’s monologue in their professional workshop productions inDecember at the Bluver Theater at the Drake in Center City Philadelphia.

Expressing the distinctive imagination of children, Bonner’s “Tell My Mother I Loved Her” follows the story of a young girl going through a worst-case scenario in her head. About to enter an old, abandoned house and record herself for documentation, she talks to the house about how her excursion should go — the easy way and the hard way. Her mind just keeps going and going, coming up with comical scenarios.

Grandey’s “Bigger Than Us'' suggests a dystopian world in which an impassioned scientist strives to create just the right formula to impact a population distrustful of its government. A scientist fervently declares the need to maintain the paying public’s fear so it continues to turn to them for answers. The monologue creates a bleak picture of the power of science in an unstable world.

Robinson’s “Bravo” is set in 1941 in the middle of the second World War. Pearl Harbor’s Hickam Air Force Base has been on alert for two weeks, and everyone is on their toes because of it. Insecure B-17 pilot Ceil Vector finds himself spewing his life story to his plane in light of a potential discharge from active duty. He speaks of how his relationship with his father, a former Air Force pilot, went up in flames following a plane crash that Ceil himself took the blame for. In the end, Ceil voices his worries about his father being alone and the reality of never being able to apologize if either he or his father dies. The monologue ends with Ceil, drifting off to sleep, asking his plane to wake him up when ‘this’ ends. 

Opuni wrote “From the Ashes,” which is set in a corrupt kingdom falsely ruled by creatures of darkness and shadow. Humanoids and creatures of all kinds have been run underground. While calamity rages above, hope cultivates below as the former princess rallies her people to fight for their freedom. She vows to place the crown back on her head as the queen and avenge the execution of her older sister (See related story). 

“With All My Love,” written by Semien-Graef, is a dramatic and harrowing monologue, told in the form of a letter from an abused mother to the daughter she left behind. The mother works to explain to the daughter her fear of leaving and her growing understanding of the true rights women hold. She also seeks to free her daughter from the hold of her abusive father, who threateningly pounds on her door as the lights dim.

Congratulations to all the winners!