BATH — Some kids give valedictorian speeches. Morgan Quigg is delivering a message to her peers in the form of a one-act play.

Quigg, a 17-year-old senior at Morse High School from West Bath, wrote the script for the school’s entry into the Maine Drama Festival. “Look Up” tells the story of two friends, a teenage boy and a girl, who trade the secrets of their lives while sitting on the roofs of their homes. A horrific tragedy reorders the life and priorities of the girl character.

The message of the play is direct: Be thankful for every moment you’re together. Look up and pay attention to everything that’s happening, because it will be over before you know it.

“I wrote this play because I want to hit the hearts of people my age,” Quigg said. “It’s about change and growing up and not wanting to leave things behind. It’s hard, but real.”

Quigg is among nearly 60 Morse students involved in the original one-act play. The Morse theater team will stage “Look Up” during the Class A regional competition Friday night at Lawrence High School in Fairfield. The state finals are March 20-21 in Bangor and Millinocket.

Morse will run it for free at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Morse as a tune-up for the state competition.


Morse has a long history of presenting student-written plays. Morse High Drama director Kevin O’Leary came to Morse in 2000 with a background in playwriting, and encouraged students to write plays. Since then, Morse has only produced student-written plays for the one-act festival.

Quigg began working on “Look Up” a year ago.

Learning that she had been chosen as this year’s playwright felt like a coronation. O’Leary called her into his office, and waiting for her when she arrived was Nathanial Barter, the previous year’s student playwright. The crown had been passed.

It was humbling and scary, and she got to work. Quigg wrote about emotions that she knows, and not things she imagined. “I would say a significant amount of my personal life is in here,” she said.

Quigg has written five novels and is working on a sixth. She plans to study writing in college.

At Morse, the playwright is treated like the starting quarterback of the football team. O’Leary ordered embroidered hooded sweatshirts with Quigg’s name stitched on the front, along with the name of the play, “Look Up.” The jocks get letter jackets. Theater kids get hoodies.

There are about 600 students at Morse, O’Leary noted. Sixty of them — the drama kids — are wearing sweatshirts with Quigg’s name on it. She’s the star, O’Leary said.

“And every one of those 60 is working for Morgan Quigg. All they want to do is serve the playwright.”

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