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Girl's play staged _ with a twist

The production of her first play on the stage of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts seemed a bit off kilter to the 15-year-old playwright.

"The Washington (performance in October) was sort of a demented Brady Bunch," Monica Wrobel said. "They turned parts I never thought would be funny to have a dark sense of humor to it."

She wrote the play Dirty Dishes this year. It is an account of a teenage girl's battle with clinical depression and her mother's obliviousness to her problems.

She meant for the play to have sarcastic and humorous tones, but she intended it to be slightly more serious than the actors and director interpreted it in Washington.

"It had this weird comic element," she said.

The staged reading of her play performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall last spring was a little too serious, she said. "What I had in mind is somewhere in between."

Wrobel, a sophomore at Dunedin High, entered Dirty Dishes in a local contest in the spring sponsored by the West Central Florida Playwrights Process and won the youth division. All the plays had to deal with a disability.

Winning locally put her in the national competition, which she also won.

Still, she said, the whole experience of having her play produced by professional actors was wonderful.

"It was awesome," she said. "It was strange seeing words I had written acted out."

The actors were great, she said, especially the woman who played the mother.

"She was wonderful," Wrobel said. "She had a very sort of antique look to her. She looked like a painting from the Baroque period."

Wrobel, a sophomore at Dunedin High, entered Dirty Dishes in a local contest sponsored by the West Central Florida Playwrights Process and won the youth division. All the plays had to deal with a disability.

Winning locally put her in the national competition, which she also won.

While Wrobel and her parents were in Washington, they got to see the Neil Simon play Proposals. She was interviewed on a radio show and toured the city.

There was only one glitch in her trip to the Smithsonian Institution. "They didn't have Evel Knievel's motorcycle on display. That was what I really wanted to see," she said. "That was my only disappointment."

She hasn't begun any more plays. "I'm just sort of taking a break," Wrobel said. "I'm working on a couple of stories, but they're not going very far."

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