Young Sammamish playwrights honored by Seattle theaters

December 23, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

New: Dec. 23, 2:14 p.m.

William Shakespeare was around the age of 25 when he wrote his first play; Tennessee Williams was a teenager when he penned his first script but had to wait several more years to have one produced. But for three lucky Sammamish students the chance to see their words come to life on stage will come much sooner.

Zach Tlachac, Emmie Head and Grace Jendrezak are all in seventh grade at Eastside Catholic Middle School and all will have their plays produced in Seattle later this spring.

As part of their humanities class, all seventh graders at the school this year took part Young Playwrights Program, an educational offshoot of Seattle’s ACT Theatre. For 10 weeks, playwright teachers worked with students to help them create their own plays.

“I have watched them grow as writers and thinkers,” said teacher Lisa Abraham in a statement released by Eastside Catholic Dec. 14. “The creativity they possess was fostered and encouraged. Their one-act plays were witty, insightful, and superbly written.”

Around 400 students from around the Puget Sound region took part in the program, which culminated Dec. 10 when ACT Theatre hosted an awards celebration. Eleven of Eastside Catholic’s students were recognized for their work, including several who call Sammamish home.

Tlachac’s play, “George and Wilson—Secret Agents,” was selected as one of eight plays to be produced by ACT for the Young Playwrights Festival in March. In preparation for the production, Zach will be partnered with a professional director, dramaturge, stage manager, and actors.

“It’s going to be really fun and awesome because I get to help shape my play from being in my mind to actually being on stage,” said Tlachac.

Pulling inspiration from Mel Brooks’ comedy “Get Smart,” the 12-year-old wrote a 13-page script about two secret agents, George and Wilson, who work for WONKF or Worldwide Organization of National Krime Fighters, and are on a quest to defeat the criminal mastermind Doctor Peppre.

Tlachac, who wants to eventually become an actor, said he first got the idea for the two character during a game the students were playing in class and built the rest of the script from there.

“It was fun,” he said about class. “We played a bunch of acting games and did a lot of writing. It was fun being really creative.”

Seattle’s Twelfth Night Productions chose the works of two other Sammamish students. Head’s “What Happened to Alex?” and Jendrezak’s “Joseph the Janitor” will be performed in Seattle this spring for the public.

“I was really shocked because I didn’t think it was that good,” said Head about learning that “What Happened to Alex,” was chosen by Twelfth Night. “I was really excited and I couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards.”

The 12-year-old’s one-act play is about a guy named Alex, whose bad sense of direction causes him to get lost on the way to the bathroom. Head said she got the original idea for the premise from people who look at a big house and exclaim, “this house is so big, I am going to get lost going to the bathroom.”

“I don’t really like writing that much so I didn’t think it would be that fun,” said Head. “But I found it to be very, very fun…I thought of this idea, and I really wanted to keep expanding on it because I had so many other ideas to add to it.”

Sammamish’s Nicole Cowan, for “Is He Worth It?” and Blake Rogalski, for “Rapper Trouble,” received honorable mentions.

“I had a great experience,” said Cowan, whose play is about the power of friendship. “I’m happy that I got to do it at such a young age, because my teacher said she has never written one, so I feel really blessed to have gotten to do it.”

Now that she has seen all that goes into writing a script, Cowan and her dad plan to spend a lot more time at the theater.

“I thought that it seems like a lot of fun,” she said. “And to see it all come to real life; to see all the hard work actually become something is really inspiring.”


Reporter Lillian O’Rorke can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242 or

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