The education of young playwrights seems to be the theme of bay area theater this week. At Gorilla Theatre, the Young Dramatists' Project is now in its 10th season of putting on prize-winning short plays by teenagers. Each winner receives mentoring by YDP artistic director James Rayfield, a royalty of $250, a 10-show run of a professional staging and paid membership in the Dramatists' Guild.
This year's winners are Pugilist by Zacharia Hartman (St. Petersburg High School), The Women's Ardor by Somar Lanh (Blake High School for the Arts), The String That Fell by Michael Kefeyalew (Hillsborough High School), Fourth and Inches by Nick Nunnelly (Shorecrest Preparatory School) and Backstage by Emily Guthy (Bloomingdale High School).
The five plays will be performed today through June 13 at Gorilla, 4419 N Hubert Ave., Tampa. Shows are at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays. $5-$25. (813) 879-2914; gorillatheatre.com.
At the Studio@620, Samuel French, who graduates this year from Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, has a pair of one-act plays being produced. This One Night in the Warehouse is described as an "ethical mystery'' and features Matt Huffman and Chris Jackson. Writer's Block is about a children's author unable to finish a book who receives a visit from the spirit of Dr. Seuss. French (whose play Leda was also recognized for its artistic merit by Gorilla's YDP but will not be produced there) is a son of former St. Petersburg Times staff writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Tom French.
The French one-acts, directed by Bob Devin Jones, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the studio, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $10-$25. (727) 895-6620; studio620.org.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic