A South Forsyth High School advanced drama class recently performed the work of two seniors who spent their summer writing a play.
Annabelle Pace and Parker Hughes, both 17, are now working to get the play, titled “Noise, Noise, Noise,” published on Amazon.
They hope to sell it by February.
Pace and Hughes first decided to write the play at the end of last year after their theater teacher, Joni Smithwick, mentioned a student-led show South’s advanced drama class produces every year.
“The girls came to me and asked if they wrote a show, if the advanced drama class could perform it,” Smithwick said. “I said yes and gave them some parameters, [such as] the number of characters be-cause of the number of students we have in the class. They took it and ran with it.
“Kids ask to do things and don’t follow through, so I was pleasantly surprised when they brought it to me at the beginning of [this] year.”
The girls said they knew their teacher would be surprised that they followed through with the idea.
“When [Smithwick] mentioned the student-directed show, we were like, ‘We write all the time. Why don’t we write it? We don’t have anything to lose, so why not?’” Pace said. “Joni didn’t really think it would happen, but we showed up to school at the beginning of year with it.”
The multi-narrative story follows multiple residents who live in a rundown apartment in New Jersey that is located across from an abandoned building.
The basement of the building has become the locale for an underground punk music venue, which all the residents take issue with.
Key characters include a “universal patriarch” overbearing father and his daughter, a lesbian couple who epitomize the idea that opposites attract, a troubled couple who learn that loving one another is OK and a loving couple who learn they don’t need material goods to be happy.
And, of course, the play features a crazy cat lady.
“You can’t have a show without a crazy cat lady,” Hughes said.
Pace said from the get-go they wanted to connect all the characters in some way, using the movie “Love Actually” as their inspiration.
“When it came to writing [the play,] it was hard because had to come to know the characters,” Pace said. “We wanted all of their lives to connect in some sort of way – whether it was a major connection or not. So we thought, ‘What’s a fun situation we could put women in?’
Because there [weren’t] a lot of men. But when the idea settled, we just kind of vibed together.”
Hughes said at times, though, the writing was difficult.
“It was definitely a challenge — [the play] lasted over an hour,” she said. “But it was really interesting to make this flowing dialogue and it was amazing [to write] using the kind of voice the [characters] would be speaking in.
“Also, the music could be treated like its own character; it has its own emotions.”
Smithwick said when the girls brought her the script, she instantly fell in love with it.
“It was so well written and thoughtful, and the characters are so intricate,” she said. “They’ve done every single bit of it themselves, from the set, costumes, casting and blocking, from beginning to end.
“[This] is why I do what I do and [the production] was honestly the greatest night of my career. Being able to provide a platform for students to grow on their own is what being a teacher is. A lot of times teachers provide that and students don’t take advantage of it, but it felt so great to see how much they grew during the process.”
The class of 38 students performed the play January 11th and 12th at South’s performing arts center.
This was Hughes’ third time directing a play.