Academy Playwright Featured at International Thespian Festival

Whether by dream, memory, magic or happenstance, Zac Coffey, an Academy theatre postgraduate student, brings together four lost souls in his latest play, “The Meaning of Enchantment: a Ghost Fable.”

Earlier this year, Coffey’s script was selected as one of three finalists from more than 80 submissions from across the country to be featured in workshops during the annual Thespian Playworks program at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Playworks offers young playwrights an opportunity to work with a dramaturge, a specialist in writing or adapting plays. The young playwrights also work with directors and actors who perform in developmental readings at the annual Festival.

“Getting to work in a professional setting with a professional director and dramaturge was such a great learning experience,” said Coffey. “My dramaturge was Stephen Gregg. I was familiar with his work so I was thrilled.”

More than 120 actors auditioned for roles in one of the three student-written plays. The emphasis is on bringing the play to life, with minimal production elements on stage, by strengthening the script.

“The Meaning of Enchantment: a Ghost Fable” is about the spirits of two men, a woman and a young girl who cross paths in an old house. Presented in a non-linear way, the characters do not interact with another or acknowledge each other but their words give hints to their shared, sad history.

Coffey’s play was written in two parts. He started writing it nearly two years ago while attending Interlochen Arts Camp and then more recently revisited the piece to finish it.

“I approached the play with a new point of view almost two years after it was written,” he said. “I added nearly all of the poetic imagery and metaphorical textures in the second part of the process, which I feel helped to perpetuate the relationships and convey the larger meaning and truth behind the play.”

“The Meaning of Enchantment: a Ghost Fable” was published in the September issue of Dramatics magazine and is under consideration for a publication and licensing agreement with play publisher, Samuel French, Inc.

"Zac’s play is complex, fascinating and dramatically striking," said David Montee, director of theatre arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts. "The depth of its theme belies the young age of its playwright and we are strongly considering his play for a place in this spring’s Student-Directed One-Act bill, along with other original works from the Creative Writing Division’s playwriting class."

Coffey, a graduate of Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Arizona, is spending a post-graduate year at the Academy studying theatre. He plans to further his education in theatre training and has applied to a variety of schools including Rutgers, University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon, Boston Conservatory and The Juilliard School.