A New Published Playwright: Drea G. Panares

Like many businesses this year, COVID-19 has heavily impacted the theatre industry. We no longer can enjoy beautiful performances in person. However, this year, the Third Citizen Theater Company hosted a contest for playwrights across the country to write something inspired by classical Greek theatre and mythology. The winners’ plays would be performed on Zoom as a part of a 10-week series of events called Digital Dionysia. It’s a great way to support the arts while staying safe.

As one of the winners, Drea G. Panares became a newly published playwright and is now a part of the Digital Dionysia. Her play, It Comes At A Cost, is inspired by Greek myths and dodie songs. As a long time writer, this is a very exciting opportunity for Drea, and this experience has been one of a kind.

Q: How does it feel to be a newly published playwright?

A: It’s very exciting! It’s not an opportunity I’d ever get the chance to have. I’d never written a play before this one, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out mine had been picked. 

Q: What inspires you to write?

A: I think all writers just have that urge to write. I don’t know where exactly that spark comes from, but it’s always there. I can pull inspiration for what I write from just about anything— music or photos or other books/movies or even fun science facts.

Q: What is the biggest thing you want people to take away from your play, It Comes At A Cost?

A: The best way to care for your community is to care for individual people. The best way to care for individual people is to build a world/society they can thrive in. And sometimes, the path forward to doing both those things requires personal sacrifice, and you have to be strong enough to handle it. 

Hamilton Richard Rodgers Theatre NYC Photo by Sudan Ouyang from Unsplash

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted the theater industry and how has this experience adapted to that?

A: I mean, no one is gathering for live shows anymore. Maybe you have a small handful of things in like an outdoor show, but for the most part theater has come to a standstill. Broadway is still closed for the foreseeable future. But there’s been a lot more digital theater happening now, and it’s been incredible. I’ve been more involved with it than I really got the chance to be involved in live theater, and I hope it’s something that keeps going even when the pandemic is finally over. There’s something very exciting and unique about digital theater that offers more accessibility for both audience and theater-makers alike that I think is definitely worth exploring. 

Q: What do you think people could learn from this experience?

A: Digital theater is a new medium, but there’s so much to be played around with it. The ideas the director for It Comes At A Cost has are absolutely stunning and are only really achieved through this medium. You’d obviously stage a play differently over Zoom than on a stage, but that doesn’t make the former lesser. If anything it’s a fun challenge— how to take stage work and convert it to the screen in a way that is still markedly different from, say, a YouTube miniseries or a TV show or Netflix movie. 

Photo by Jackie Boylhart on Unsplash

Q: Do you plan to work on publishing plays or other writing samples in the future?

A: I’ve got a couple poetry books in the works! And I’d definitely like to do more plays in the future, I think. For the longest time I was living in the rut of “ideas for poems” and then anything too long to be a poem was an “idea for a novel.” But I’m not good at writing novels, necessarily— it’s not a way I tend to write. Plays, however, are a happy medium in between where I can take an idea too big for poems and turn it into something longer without all the work required of a novel. 

Support the arts and become a part of the Digital Dionysia world!

You can watch Drea’s play, It Comes At A Cost, during Week 4 of Digital Dionysia on December 15th, 8:00 PM EST.

Learn more about Third Citizen Theatre at https://linktr.ee/thirdcitizen.theatreco and Drea G. Panares at https://dreapanares.wixsite.com/dreawrites

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