Ethan Lewiston was born to Jim and Rachel Lewiston on September 18, 1992, in Grenada, Mississippi. Jim was an accountant, and Rachel was a nurse in a doctor's office.
Although an accountant by trade, Jim had a great love of books, and the Lewiston house had an extensive library. Long before Ethan was old enough to read, he still liked to carry books around the house. Later, he became fascinated with the dinosaur pictures in the encyclopedia.
By fourth grade, Ethan showed a tremendous aptitude for reading. Each day, he joined the sixth-grade class for reading groups. He raced through most of the books in the small elementary school library and read comics and fantasy novels in his spare time. By his freshman year in high school, Ethan was known for being a star pupil in English class. He wrote short stories and planned to write a novel before he graduated.
His sophomore year, Ethan joined the drama club because he had a crush on a girl in the group. He showed some acting skills and was quickly assigned the lead roles in most productions.
Ethan enjoyed the stage, the rehearsals, and the pressure leading up to opening night. However, he was frustrated with the silly plays the group usually produced, so in the summer of his junior year, he wrote his own play about life in a small Southern high school. "Spanish Moss" was a hit in his hometown, and it won a statewide competition for student drama. By the end of high school, Ethan was imagining himself as a budding Neil Simon.
After graduation, Ethan attended the University of Mississippi and majored in theatre arts. Shortly after beginning the program, Ethan realized that his dramatic future was in writing. Although he had excelled as an actor in high school, he wasn't good enough to compete at the collegiate level. However, his professors praised his scripts, and his plays were in constant demand in the department.
Ethan kept running into a pretty and talented student named Andrea Stover in his classes. He was drawn to her intensity and fearlessness on stage. They started working together on projects that became the talk of the department. Shortly after Andrea was named as director of Oxtales, she hired Ethan as the playwright.
Over time, Ethan began to chafe at Andrea's tight reins. As much as he admired her talent and determination, he sometimes resented her inflexibility in production, especially when she changed or cut much of his best work.
When Andrea went to prison after the production of "Snopes," Ethan was glad for the break. He was sorry to see his friend go to jail, but as a writer, his work blossomed under Dale King's direction.
"Black Boy in the Closet" was a runaway success for Oxtales. It garnered critical acclaim as well as sell-out crowds. There were mentions of Ethan's work in the Memphis and Jackson papers. He was included in a Southern Living article about young playwrights in the South. He felt like his work was finally being taken seriously instead of considered just a novelty full of sensationalism.
Ethan had mixed emotions about Andrea's release from prison. He was glad to see his friend back in town, but he worried about how Oxtales would respond. Although he was afraid Andrea would retake complete control, he hoped they could reach some compromise between his and Andrea's very different styles.
When no compromise was forthcoming, and Andrea returned as single-minded as ever, Ethan began working on plays that he thought would be produced by groups other than Oxtales. He felt a little disloyal but thought it was important to let his work continue to grow and not get dragged down into Andrea's shock tactics.