Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. In Prom Night by Sylvia Davenport-Veith, an unlikely romance between the outcast and the linebacker brings prom night magic.
Prom night has not been fun for Imena Hart. She fought off her date, tore her dress, broke her high heel, left her glasses at home and her mother won’t stop calling.
Dillon McGinty’s not having a ball, either. His date wasn’t named Prom Queen, so she got drunk and accused Dillon of not being fun anymore.
This unlikely pair meet in the woods on a moonlit night in their fancy clothes. They tell the truth, share secret wishes and find out what’s behind the “uncool” Catholic girl and the linebacker Prom King.
Together, Dillon and Imena create their own prom night magic.
Why did we publish this play?
What drew us to the play was the clear characters that go beyond the stereotype of “Prom King” and “Geek Girl.” A sweet story without ever being cloying – this would be a showstopper of a competition piece.
Let’s hear from the author!
1. Why did you write this play?
From first grade through senior year, I was an awkward, shy girl who lived on the outside of the social world of my peers. I had no problem getting up on stage and acting, but I could barely converse with others in real life. Of course, no one asked me to the Prom. Like Imena, I liked old music and old movies, and I was certain I had no appeal.
Everything changed when I attended college and met many different types of people who found me interesting and attractive! I ended up teaching high school students for 25 years and chaperoned countless dances and Proms. I wanted to write a play about a girl who realizes her potential on Prom Night, instead of waiting for college. In order to do that, I had to create the right characters to surround this awkward girl and bring her out of herself.
Grace shows her that being “cool” doesn’t always end well. Dillon shows her that what she thinks and feels make her a unique and fascinating person. She doesn’t have to feel bad about the books she reads or the music she likes or the way she looks. She just has to be herself. One final thing: I wrote this play with diversity in mind.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
The play emphasizes the importance embracing one’s own individuality as well as summoning the courage to take a chance.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
I have to say that the play is written to provide many visuals for the audience. Imena’s stumping around on a broken heel in a torn dress; Grace’s drunken antics; Dillon’s mocking dance moves; the romantic pantomime, ending in a kiss; Dillon’s lifting Imena onto the tree stump so he can dance with her better; their romantic slow dance as the lights go down. Directors should make every effort to make the play a series of memorable visuals.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Casting is the key. This is for actors who are mature enough to open themselves up and play for keeps.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
I directed the first production of Prom Night, and the student actors were completely immersed in the characters. Each had past stage experience and were masterful with the comic timing. Additionally, after Grace passes out, Imena and Dillon were able to move easily into the deeper parts of the play. Later, they were able to look into each other’s eyes and make the stage kisses tender and real. Nothing was artificial. The audience loved every moment, and the actors told me that had a ball!
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