"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Center Stage

“It’s easy to forget the power playwriting has. It’s limitless.” Max Friedlich ‘13 explains. Max is the writer behind JOB, an off-broadway production about an employee at a large tech company that has been placed on leave and her consultation with a crisis therapist. A psychological thriller, JOB zooms in on two careerists of different generations, genders and political paradigms to examine what it means to be a citizen of the internet and our obligation to help the people who need it most.

Max’s thirteen years at Friends helped fuel his passion for writing. “[Friends] was fundamental to how I think about the world.” He spoke about the influence the English Department had on his development and preparing him for college,  and made him think differently. “Maria Fahey had an eighth grade poetry seminar that developed my love of language.” Max also blithely recounted the first play he wrote in John Byrne’s Grade 8 English class. Though the theme prompted a phone call home to his parents, it was a catalyst in his playwriting career. From there, “I knew this is all I wanted to do,” he declared. 

On September 27, he returned to Friends to speak to Steve Borowka’s Upper School Playwriting students. He provided insight into his writing process, fighting discouragement, and the joys of theater. Max gave a candid recount of his move to L.A. and working in social media and how it inspired his one act play. In the four-year journey to the stage, he turned out nearly 80 drafts and acknowledged the grueling rehearsal process and previews. He also talked about the surprising ways actors handled his work, their artistry and intuition with the subject matter, and learning to let go of elements in plays that he once found non-negotiable.

He ended the session by taking student questions on fighting writers block, finding inspiration in the mundane, and the vulnerability in others judging your work. And that eighth grade play he wrote? Twelve years later it’s on its way to the stage.
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Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.