Sasha Mark recently won first prize in a playwriting competition that put his written words centre stage.
As one of five finalists in the 12th annual Scirocco Drama Manitoba High School Playwriting Competition, the 18-year-old junior staff member earned the unique opportunity to have his play, Cheryl, shown in front of an audience at the Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre.
The plot came to life with help from acting students from the University of Winnipeg’s department of theatre and film.
“It was weird to finally see it put on a stage,” Sasha says. “It’s both unbelievable and weird.”
His dark comedy received the most votes by the audience, earning him the $200 first-place prize: the Cora McKenzie Award, named in memory of a former winner.
Cheryl is the protagonist in his film-noir-style play about love and betrayal. Sasha describes her as an obsessive person who feels her emotions deeply and acts without thinking things through.
“Cheryl meets somebody, falls in love really quickly, gets married and things don’t go the way she plans. Then she tries to take things in her own hands,” he says.
Career Trek founder Darrell Cole and members of the management team attended the performance, offering their support to the long-time trekker. Sasha first got involved with Career Trek as a participant in the Phase I program and has spent three years as a junior staff member.
A recent grad of Gordon Bell High School, he credits Career Trek with helping him figure out that he wants to be a teacher, most likely in English Language Arts given his love of writing. What appeals to him most about a career in education is the opportunity it brings to help students discover their true interests.
“To help them find the path they want to do, rather than what people are telling them to do,” Sasha explains.
His dad, Alex Mark, a diesel mechanic, says he is grateful to Career Trek for introducing his son to so many potential career options and for well-equipping him to find his own way.
“It gave him things that I couldn’t,” says Alex, who got a kick out of watching his son’s script performed at a professional venue.
“(That play) was very deep and well thought out. Also somewhat dark but also some humour. It is very layered.”
It’s not every day that a teenager gets the chance to share his talent in such a big way, and to come home with the top prize made for one pretty proud dad.
“Oh, heck yeah,” Alex says.