Students present works from latest creative writing anthology
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Every year, talented creative writing students take to the podium in the Studio Theatre at Douglas College to read their works from the latest Pearls anthology. On March 27, the Douglas College community was treated to an evening of emotional non-fiction, hilarious scripts, and even a sweet children’s story.
Personal narrative stories were a popular choice at the Pearls 34 event, with three of the eight readings recounting unforgettable experiences from the writers’ pasts. Tracey Carruthers read “Chapters Metrotown,” a story about the unpleasant aspects of a salesperson’s job at the bookstore. Nina Falcos read “Symphonic Repose,” an emotional story of having to choose the final music for her ailing grandmother to listen to. Larissa Huang, who has four poems in Pearls 34, read a memoir at the event, “Magnolia X Alba,” about spending time with her grandfather.
Two of the readings were scripts written for the stage, featuring character dialogue as well as stage directions and settings. To present the scripts, Blake Rayment and Chris Francisque had their friends join them for the readings to assist with the additional characters’ lines.
Rayment presented an excerpt from his comedy script, “Barry’s Retreat,” about a confused young man (read by Rayment) and his friend Stanford (read by Francisque) trying to buy soap at the supermarket. The reading ended with Barry believing he is undergoing a werewolf transformation at the checkout counter, though Rayment assured the crowd before the reading that Barry is not actually a werewolf and it’s not a scary story.
Francisque’s script excerpt, “The Department of Second Chances,” featured a strict black woman, a compassionate old lady, and a rude young woman in an unconventional, humorous setting where the dead wait to receive their second chance at life. Francisque did an amazing job portraying the sassy Nene while his friends gave wonderful performances as the elderly Ethel and the aggressive Tiffany.
In contrast to the evening’s dramatic readings, Rachel Cobbett read “Jim the Ruthless,” a lighthearted children’s story about the son of a pirate who is expected to be ruthless but is actually quite nice. The addition of this upbeat, simple story showcased how expressive student writing can be, even when it’s written with a younger audience in mind.
The event concluded with Calvin Wharton, the creative writing department chair, announcing the Maurice Hodgson Award winners. Laura Deheer, whose poem “Inside the Mind of Leanan Sidhe” is featured in Pearls 34, received the silver award. Jesse Pipe received the gold award.
Pearls 34 will soon be available for purchase at the Douglas College bookstore.