Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3 Things I like about Writing - Oscar Hallas

Oscar Hallas is a DTA grad about to head off for Knox College. He wrote several plays as a teen, many of them in DTA's Writers Project.

1: I like the process of connecting the various related ideas I have in my mind. It's like inventing puzzle pieces to fit other puzzle pieces together.

2: I love the first laugh I get from an audience the first time I perform my writing.

3: I like the challenge of always being original. Even with an original story, it's dangerously easy to slip into territory (in terms of themes and ideas) which has already been explored too much.

Downtown Art is currently seeking teen writers and composers for this year's 'Writers Project'. Check it out at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

3 Ways Downtown Art Could Change Your Life

by Michela Garabedian, company member

Downtown Art’s influence on my life has been far-reaching and incredibly positive.

1) DTA has provided me with a creative outlet that I could not have found anywhere else—throughout my time at this theatre company, I have worked on stage, backstage, and have even written a short play to be performed in front of a real audience. Having this outlet has given me a chance to express myself in a unique and fun way. It has also given me a lot of confidence in my own creative voice.

2) DTA has provided me with the friendships and tools I need to flourish in the world of high school and beyond. I have learned to collaborate well with teens from all different backgrounds. Not only have I gained leadership and teamwork skills through this collaboration, but I have also made some of the best friends I’ve had and probably will ever have. Working with so many talented, kind, and passionate people inspires me to transcend the barriers of what I can accomplish every day.

3) Lastly, DTA has provided me with a community for life. I never really knew what a community was until I became a part of DTA. Now I know that a community is a place where, as cheesy as it sounds, you are the best 'you' you can be. When I am a part of DTA, I feel like a better person. Being part of a community like Downtown Art is rare and life changing!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

3 Reasons I'm coming back to DTA

by Lena Feliciano Hansen (age 17)

1) A MOMENT TO BREATHE: Downtown Art, though a lot of work, is a place where I can put my stress from school and home aside. Here is where I can focus on something that I want to do and choose to put my time into. When I feel like I'm failing at everything else, I can come here and feel like I'm doing something right.

2) THE PEOPLE: I love everyone in DTA, I really do. It boosts me up to be around everyone. I trust everyone -- I don't have to worry about petty things that most people usually do when they're at school. We are all really supportive and we work to have everyone at their best. We are not about pulling people down and being on top. We truly work as a team.

3) TO ACT: I love to act! - and DTA has a great environment where I feel comfortable. I've grown a lot as a person, writer and actor here. Being on stage is my greatest fear, but it's also my greatest passion. I'm so thankful DTA's given me the chance to take on this paradox of mine and do what I love.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3 Ways 'The Writer's Project' made a Difference to My Writing

Alyssa Burgos is 18 and has written three plays over the past three years which have been workshopped and given staged readings through Downtown Art's Writer's Project.

I know you guys have heard this kind of thing before, so I’m going to make this as original as possible and interesting as I can. Okay? Okay. Here we go.

1. For starters, one big difference 'The Writers Project' made is that I have actual completed scripts. I have written a lot as a kid .. basically my whole life. I could complete short stories - no problem. Scripts I couldn’t. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because when you don’t have a deadline to pressure you to finish something, and you don’t have a deadline so deadly that if you don’t finish by then you will die (I tend to be very dramatic - I apologize), and you’re a procrastinator ... stuff just doesn’t get done.

But now I have three complete scripts, thanks to the Writer’s Project. And I have the ability to give myself a mental deadline, because I know that if I don’t finish the script I’m starting the damn thing won’t write itself and an amazing earth shattering idea just goes to waste in a file drawer.

2. I found out in the Writers Project that I’m a good comedic writer. Like, I can actually be funny and sorta witty. Who knew? I sure as hell didn’t. Lovely self discovery. So, yes, that made a difference because now I’m writing comedies.

3. Last, but not least, the third difference the project made... Confidence. Yeah, how original. Basically, when it comes down to it, when you’re doing something and you want to be good at it, and you can be good at it, its confidence that will put it over the top. (When I say this don’t get too confident so that you think you’re better than everyone else, even if it is true. No one likes an overly confident person. I think they would rather have a humble person than an overly confident, arrogant one instead.) But seriously, I did get more confidence in my writing. Not overly confident, mind you. Just a bit more than I was before. I mean, I still get nervous when someone first reads my writing. My hand or knee might shake a little bit and I’m mentally going crazy trying to figure out what I can do better, but, hey, that’s normal. (I hope. Well, at least that’s normal for me. It’s my normal.) Now if someone asks me if I can write, I’m no longer like all shy and saying “Yeah.... I guess I can.” Now I’m like “Yupp! I can write. It’s what I want to do.”

Oh, one thing that hasn’t changed…I don’t edit! I get someone to do it for me. (Oh, yeah, I got it like that. Okay, not really. My sister likes to do it for me. No, really. She does.)

- Alyssa

For more info on opportunities for teen playwrights at Downtown Art, go to

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 New Things I want to Try This Season

Ryan Gilliam is the Artistic/Executive Director of Downtown Art.

In the coming season, I want to take on:

1. Bringing together teen writers and composers to create new music theater in the ‘Eastside Stories' project. I am really psyched about this.

2. Finding new ways to work with staging and sound in ‘The Bowery Wars, Part II’. We've broken ground with our ways of connecting street performance and music. What new variations are possible?

3. Using technology and social media to support our projects. We’re going to have an Ipad in rehearsals, our blog is gathering steam, our Twitter followers are growing, and we're building a new Wordpress site for our Festival. Possibilities abound.

Ryan Gilliam, Artistic/Executive Director