Drama Lesson

How a Playwright Learned Improvisation

The Washington Post
May 16, 2005
By Nelson Pressley

It’s a high school Saturday night, and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” the spring musical at Stone Bridge High in Ashburn, has just ended. The scene turns to shrieks of “Omigod!” and happy weeping as 60-plus cast members and numerous crew people spill into the auditorium for flowers and hugs with family and friends.

The show’s producer and assistant director, 17-year-old senior Sabrina Audrey Jess, figures she has about half an hour before the cast party begins. With an actor friend to keep her company — a friend who will come and go, leaving at one point to get out of costume — she scrunches in one of the back rows, pressing her feet against the seat in front of her. This is where Sabrina begins to explain how “Offsides,” her one-act drama about a high school football player who realizes he’s gay, landed her in an ugly political brawl.

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