Promising Playwright, November 2018
“I honestly feel natural in this class out of all my classes because I feel like I get to express myself.”
In Ms. Polk’s theater class at Eastern High School, sophomore student Nevaeh Edwards has a story with a mission of awareness. Her play, titled In the Mind of a Twenty-Year-Old Art Student tackles young adult struggles with mental health through the eyes of its protagonist, 20-year-old Lily Amber. “As someone who’s struggled with mental health in the past, I just thought it would be interesting to write it out and explore the topic,” says Nevaeh.
“[Lily Amber] is a lot. She’s messy, but in a way that’s human,” she explains. “She’s someone that doesn’t want to be helped because she doesn’t know how to seek it.”
Through Lily Amber, Nevaeh explores three major mental health disorders: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Each is its own personified character that works to tear Lily Amber down, and Lily Amber must fight them and find the will to survive.
This is not Neveah’s first time playwriting or her first time with YPT. She was a student of YPT’s In-School Playwriting Program in the 5th grade at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in Southwest. “I write short stories, too,” says Neveah. “And I’m actually working on a short film with my friends.”
Neveah really enjoys YPT in her theater class. “It’s great,” says Neveah. “I honestly feel natural in this class out of all my classes because I feel like I get to express myself.” In fact, Neveah will use what she’s learned to continue writing and other creative pursuits. “I think my goal is to be like a writer or something. Probably like a director; I always wanted to do film.”
In her spare time, Neveah participates in the photography club and the Spirit club, a club that brings LGBTQ+ students together. She also wants to join the creative writing club when it begins.
Her advice to young writers: “Just do it. You might be shy; you might be afraid that your work isn’t good enough, but once you get into it, it’s just—like—no stopping. And it feels so good to have your work played out and just have it appear in front of your eyes in a physical form.”