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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Junior Rose directs awarded self-written script

Meredith Bell
Junior Leo Rose watches the first off-script run of his self-written one-act, “The Blue Bar,” in which junior James Howard and sophomore Mira Silverman play characters discussing a mysterious past.

After writing and winning the Thespy Playwright award for his one-act, “The Blue Bar,” junior Leo Rose will be the first underclassman in recent years at Midtown to direct a Senior One Act in May. 

Senior One Acts are annual theater performances where Advanced Drama students direct a short scene of their choice at the end of the year. With the approval of theater teacher Jacob Dreiling, “The Blue Bar” will be directed by Leo Rose for the Senior One Acts.

“For Advanced Drama, we were deciding what play to direct for Senior One Acts,” Leo Rose said. “One of my friends recommended that I direct ‘The Blue Bar,’ so we voted on which of the plays we wanted to direct, and mine won.”

Originally written for a playwright competition at Thescon, an annual theater conference, “The Blue Bar” is a script that details the main character reliving memories after drinking a blue liquid at a bar with another character. Leo Rose said he initially struggled with the deadline while writing the script.

“We didn’t have much time to write it, maybe a month or so,” Leo Rose said. “For the first week, I got a few pages down, and then I immediately rushed the second half once I realized what the deadline was.”

Despite the small time frame of two months to produce the play, Leo Rose said he was able to let his writing process flow naturally.

“I see it as a bowl of popcorn,” Leo Rose said. “Before I write, I’ll have all these ideas, and I try to find ways to incorporate them. Sometimes, it’ll be an early pop, or sometimes, right at the end of the story, I could have this amazing idea, and I’ll put it down.”

After several rounds of editing, Leo Rose said he felt good enough about the story to show it to a new set of eyes.

“I went back and edited so many times,” Leo Rose said. “I actually got my dad to do a few edits for me. My parents have been amazing; they’ve always been there to encourage me and see how my story is going along.”

When he first helped edit the script, Leo Rose’s father, Doug Rose, was impressed by the effort put into his son’s writing.

“It’s shocking the amount of work he puts into it for someone his age,” Doug Rose said. “He’s the hardest-working guy in our household. It’s rewarding to see that he has such a passion for something and puts so much work into it.”

When “The Blue Bar” won the Thespy Playwright award, Leo Rose’s mother, Jelena Subotic, said she enjoyed her son’s recognition for his hard work.

“I may or may not have screamed,” Subotic said. “He came down from his room, and he said, ‘I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!’ It was so wonderful. If [Leo Rose] continues to get positive encouragement, that will make him continue to compete and write with more confidence.”

At Thescon, Leo Rose and the other award-winning playwright selected peers to read each other’s script. As he watched the group read “The Blue Bar,” Leo Rose said he found the different interpretations of his writing fascinating.

“It was very surreal seeing these teenagers read my script for me,” Leo Rose said. “It was fun to see how people interpreted the lines and how much emotion they put into it; I noticed that there were a few lines that I initially thought were innocent, but they felt a lot more sinister when they were read out loud, so when I thought about directing the play, I definitely thought about how I could incorporate that.”

As he directs his Senior One Act, Leo Rose said he plans to let his actors weigh in to contribute to a more dynamic scene.

“As much as I love to see my own vision of how I want my actors to perform, a lot of the great ideas come from them,” Leo Rose said. “I’m always open to see what ideas they have, and it can really lead to some great acting.”

As avid writers, Subotic and Doug Rose said they hope their son learns valuable lessons from pursuing theater.

“We’re both so interested in writing, so for us, seeing his creative writing process, we’re so happy to see him enjoy that,” Subotic said. “It’s great to see him have an interest, period. It’s great to have a kid with a passion; if he were interested in robotics, that would be great, too. We’ll always support any interest he has, but this particular one is great because we can go watch his shows and talk about theater together as a family.”

As his senior year approaches, Leo Rose said he looks forward to participating in theater and entering the Thespy Playwright Competition again next year.

“[The competition] allows the student to know if this is something that they’d want to do for a living, it basically gives them a test drive,” Leo Rose said. “For me, I’ve been able to write and direct a play, so if I do eventually want to become a writer or director, I already have that experience. It’s also very fun to write something and be able to show it to the world. That’s why I love this program a lot; it’s very helpful for students.”

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About the Contributor
Meredith Bell
Meredith Bell, A&E Section Editor
Meredith is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. Outside of school, she runs Midtown's film discussion club, acts in theater productions, and participates in Midtown Votes as well as the Plantlanta composting club.

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