By Zack Goldman
Like most playwrights, Sam Alper â07 is largely influenced by what he surrounds himself with.
His muses are grainy, photocopied works from pop artist Edward Ruscha, the elaborate book covers of Kurt Vonnegut and the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons.
This is hardly considered usual inspiration for a playwright, but then again, Alper is by no means a conventional dramatist.
Last week, Alperâs play “Stickman,” which debuted at the Playwrightsâ Festival 2006, was selected to be performed at the Deland Theater Festival in Deland, Florida.
His comedy-drama was one of 10 works accepted by a committee who read approximately 230 plays, which were submitted from around the country by mainly adults.
Adam Cochranâs â04 musical “Rise Up” was also accepted.
“Itâs cool because theyâre also doing âRise Up,â” Alper said. “And itâs in the same set as mine. The other play in my set is a Civil War history piece by the guy who wrote the USA Networkâs most recent Christmas special.”
Despite his play being heralded nearly everywhere it has been shown, Alper is swift to note that the birth of “Stickman” was no more than an accident.
What I was really working on coming into the school year was “Groundbloomflower,” said Alper of his other play accepted to the Playwrightsâ Festival. “I started writing this sort of lame scene about this guy with a stick and this other guy approaches him and heâs a crab. I began to write my criticisms into the scene and then I ended up liking what I had there. So I kept writing it.”
Outside of the writing realm, Alperâs interests remain entrenched in the stage. After founding the middle schoolâs improv troupe, the Comedy Chimps, he found himself in nearly every upper school acting program one can think of.
Among other achievements, he appeared in both “The Laramie Project” and “Metamorphoses” during his sophomore and junior year.
He is also a member of Scene Monkeys, the upper school improv group.
Alper is no stranger to recognition for his work. The Flat, his comedy tandem with Josh Margolin â07, won first place at last yearâs Teen Angels LA Talent Competition for their sketch “The Meaning of Friendship.”
In addition, they are responsible for last yearâs semiformal video, which features the unorthodox training methods of two junior boys, played by Alper and Margolin, in anticipation of their biggest social event of the year.
At the Westport Young Filmmakers Festival, The Flatâs semiformal video won best comedy and audience choice, which is chosen out of all the films in the festival overall.
Alper also volunteers as a mentor at “The Unusual Suspects,” a program for at-risk youth with acting aspirations.
So, whatâs on tap for a senior with success seemingly beckoning at nearly every turn?
“We are in the upcoming âSomewhat North of Bostonâ festival, which is not a high school thing, so thatâs pretty cool,” he said.
“But, Iâm just worrying about apps and getting my homework done right now.”