Fayshawn Morgan recently started a birthday fundraiser on Facebook supporting YPT and shared these words about her experience as a student from 1998 to 2004 and the impact it had on her life.
My history with YPT goes back to my 7th grade school year at Hardy Middle School. Every week we took an art class at the Filmore Arts School, and by that point I had been writing fiction and poetry since I was in 1st grade. So, naturally when I saw Playwrighting I opted to take that class because writing did not need me to face my extreme stage fright the way singing in the choir would. Plus, writing has always been my first love.
“Karen Zacarias was the first adult in my life to encourage and push me to step out of my comfort zone.”
— Fayshawn Morgan
Karen Zacarias was the first adult in my life to encourage and push me to step out of my comfort zone. I told her that writing a one-act play was too hard, and she told me that it wasn’t hard at all and that she would show all of us how to do it. Afterward, I wrote my first play at the age of 12, Just One Of Them Days. Much to my surprise and delight Ms. Zacarias entered our plays into the contest YPT does for its students and I won the grand prize. To this day, it is still something I am so proud of, and I still have the copy of that play.
One of the first plays I saw was a play she wrote called The Sins of Sor Juana. I was mesmerized by her talent. I’m not surprised at the trajectory her career has taken. When I went to high school, I couldn’t believe that my school which had an entire Humanities academy didn’t have Young Playwrights’ Theater coming to teach workshops. I talked to our dean and to Ms. Zacarias about teaching at Woodrow Wilson High School. While it was a little altruistic, it was mainly selfish — I couldn’t let go of an organization I loved so much. Between participating in summer programs, to later becoming a student teacher for a short stint, Young Playwrights’ Theater has been not only a fond memory for me, but instrumental in my love of theater, my development as a writer, and in shaping my views on what I believe I’m capable of as an artist.
Throughout the years, Ms. Zacarias has been a mentor and inspiration to me. I am so happy that 20 years later the organization she lovingly created still lives on. I’ve donated in years past, but this year I wanted to do something more so that more students like myself can have access to the programs that meant so much to me growing up.