Playwright Nicholas Pilapil

How would you describe your writing style or “voice?” 

I call the voice Linda. And Linda seems really nice, but she also has a lot of opinions and is actually really mean. I want to describe my writing as very funny, but that’s subjective to whoever is in the audience. What I can say for sure is that a Nicholas Pilapil play is most likely a dark comedy—with an abundance of pop culture references, characters with little to no subtext and a song or two I couldn’t resist writing—about young people of color who feel ostracized from the world they live in.

What drew you to playwriting? 

Initially, I was reading a lot of bad plays and thought “I can do way better than that!” But, it wasn’t until I took a writers workshop—with playwright Madhuri Shekar—that I actually started writing and realized how much I really enjoyed it. Oddly, playwriting felt like a form of activism and to be able to tell a story and share my point of view felt kinda empowering for me. But, what really trapped me was seeing an excerpt of my play performed for an audience for the first time. I’m really into people telling me I’m amazing, so once that audience laughed, I was like “I’m changing careers!”

Nicholas’ writing space.

Tell us about where you like to write.

I love watching TV and I have no self control, so I have to force myself to write at this desk with the WiFi off. However, most of the time I just end up writing with my laptop on my couch in between episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Schitt’s Creek” and something dumb like “The Good Doctor.”

Why this play?

I wanted to write a love story. And at the beginning of this play’s life it was a boy meets girl kinda story where they just fall in love. It was an epic love story that traveled through time and had a talking fetus. It was called Him and Her, and it was so stupid. Which is why we now have Young Dumb Broke High School Kids. I tend to write plays that are very character driven, and while I hated the first iteration of this play, I loved its characters. Specifically the characters when they were 16 years old in 1997. So I trashed the play, kept those characters, and just wrote random scenes with them until they told me what their story was. And it became less of the typical boy meets girl love story and more of a story about learning to love yourself and the life you live.

How would you describe your play in three words? 

A love story.

Nicholas Pilapil’s Young Dumb Broke High School Kids will be presented in Artists at Play Readings on Saturday, April 28 at 2:30pm.

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