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Young Carbondale playwright tackles adolescent struggles

John Stroud
jstroud@postindependent.com
Carbondale, CO Colorado
John Stroud/Post IndependentBrendan Peters' autobiographical play, "Between Boys and Men," will be performed as part of the Theater Masters "Take Ten" production, Jan. 25-27, at Aspen High School's Black Box Theater.
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CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Brendan Peters was already quite adept at letting his imagination run wild through fiction writing; fantasy, sci-fi and the like.

But when the junior at Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High School was given an assignment in his literature class to write a nonfiction play, he opened his heart with a personal story about some of the harsh realities of teenage life.

His teacher, Lindsay Hentschel, recognized Peters’ autobiographical play “Between Boys and Men” as something special and took it upon herself to enter it in the annual Theater Masters Aspiring Playwrights Competition, a high school writing contest for students throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. It was one of two plays selected through both local and national screenings to be performed as part of the Theater Masters “Take Ten” production, Jan. 25-27 at Aspen High School’s Black Box Theater.

“It was a surprise,” Peters, who will be 17 later this month, said. “I walked into class one day and my teacher said I’d won a literature competition. I was excited, and a little nervous. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Peters enjoys writing, mostly poetry and storytelling, but admits this was his first experience in theater.

“It came from the heart, and so I wasn’t really writing, I was merely retelling an event that happened to a friend and me,” he said. “At the time, I felt it needed to be written, so I wrote it.”

His story is about a shared conflict between he and a friend.

“Some questions are brought up about how we don’t really understand adolescent women, and our viewpoints about which boys the girls are choosing in our school,” Peters said.

Without revealing too much, he lets on that there is a rather ironic ending.

His adoptive mother, Brenda Peters, said Brendan had always been a quiet person while growing up, but has branched out in the last couple of years.

“He came to us at 2 weeks,” she said. “He has turned out to be a wonderful young person; very intelligent and thoughtful, and not your typical high school junior.

“He’s always been very creative, drawing, writing, and now playing music,” she said.

Brenda and her husband, Greg Peters, have a college-age daughter of their own, Oneal, and younger adopted daughter, Naomi.

Brendan Peters has his eye on Pratt Art Institute in New York City as a possible avenue for furthering his creativity after high school. He has been playing guitar since eighth grade. “It does offer something else to do,” he said.

And he’s had a number of his visual artwork pieces appear in the annual RFHS year-end student art show.

“I’ve won a couple of awards for my artwork,” Peters said, adding he has several pieces in the works for this year’s student art show. “It’s a perfect opportunity to show my limits, and how far I can go.”

Peters said it’s nice to have teenage artists recognized amid all the attention that’s usually focused on high school athletes.

“Sometimes we don’t look at artists as they should be,” he said. “We’re not as respected as the jocks.”

Another topic for another play, perhaps.

“I suppose writing could be an alter ego for me,” he said. “I hope I could get something out of it.”

The other local winner of the young playwrights competition was Nicole Smith, a junior at Aspen High School. She also wrote her play, “When Stars Collapse,” as a classroom assignment for Lara Okamoto’s IB Theater I class at AHS.

Peters’ and Smith’s plays will be performed at the Aspen High School Black Box Theatre along with winning plays from the Theater Masters National MFA Playwrights Festival in “Take Ten,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25, 26 and 27. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for students. For more information, call 948-8484 or e-mail theatermasters@gmail.com.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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