PLAYWRIGHT BRYAN STARCHMAN TALKS ABOUT
“THE HIGH-SCHOOLER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY”
Q.: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A.: When I was in high school I wanted to write a play about what it was like to be a high school student but was never able to really put it together because I think I was too close to the subject. Now that I have been teaching for seven years, I’m vicariously reliving all of those awkward moments through my students, and I now can also make fun of teachers because I know firsthand how we react to all the “drama” in high school
Q.: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A.: As a teacher, I love the part about what a teacher really thinks when his or her students are not paying attention in class. Some of the bizarre offhand comments the students come up with during the discussion on The Great Gatsby are direct quotes from my own classrooms. As a former student, I really enjoyed writing the dating scenes, specifically the scene in the movie theatre. “Oh great, subtitles!? If I wanted to read, I’d go to school.”
Q.: WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART IN CREATING THIS WORK?
A.: I didn’t know how to end it. I survived high school, I see students survive high school every year, but we all make the same stupid mistakes, have to endure the same embarrassing moments, etc. I finally realized that there are certain things you just have to experience for yourself and no one can guarantee you that you won’t have to deal with some awkwardness in high school.
Q.: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A. Part of this play was therapeutic for me. I wrote it during winter break after dealing with some particularly difficult classes with some very large personalities. I was able to digest those stressful situations and make fun of my students (and myself) while recharging for the second semester. I also seem to always write plays from the point of view of students, so it was nice to get to make fun of myself at the same time.
Q.: ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SAY?
A.: It’s only four years of your life. Four awkward, painful years. You can do it.