Promising Playwright, August 2008
"I’m dedicated to what I do," Maurice Olden says. "I want to be an actor. I like changing into different characters."
Maurice got his start six years ago with Young Playwrights’ Theater. As a 4th grader, Maurice helped to create and perform Hip Hop Pinocchio working with YPT after school. He remembers fondly their performances at such diverse venues as grocery store grand openings and the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage. "I liked reading my own lines in front of a crowd," Maurice says.
In 2005, Karen Evans, YPT’s former Managing Director, tapped Maurice to perform in a reading of her play Picking Up the Pieces at the Studio Theater. As he recalls the events of that play, he becomes the character. He refers to the character’s journey as if it were his own, "I was Randy, a boy whose mother left before hurricane Katrina came, and a prisoner who had watched from his jail cell rescued me."
In real life Maurice lives in Columbia Heights with his mother and two sisters. He attended Cardozo High School last year and will transfer into Duke Ellington School for the Arts this Fall as he enters 10th grade. He would like to attend NYU for college and is determined to become a full time actor. He says that even his mother can tell, "I’m not like other people."
He advises other students who are interested in performance, "Relax, buddy. It’s okay to make mistakes. Just take a deep breath and watch the people who go before you. Learn from your mistakes."