The Arts gave these “Maybes” a “YES!” through Musical Theater
My name is Susie Therese Rios. I am 22 years old, pursuing my B.A. As a Musical Theater Major at Columbia College Chicago, I found it imperative that I bring back my talent and influence to where my interest in the arts originated, my High School, Queen of Peace, in Burbank, IL. I am continuing to study, but found the best way to learn while pursuing my undergraduate degree is not only to be active in MY acting community, but by being active in a production aspect as well.
My assistance with the fall plays, being an acting coach to the high school students, not only helped them to see what they could do or bring or even give back after they reached thier goal of graduating, but for some, it gave them a goal, of wanting to come to school and believe in something they can DO and MANIFEST on stage in a community. The peace theater company was there when I was and long before. It is a troupe of peace players, thespians as well, who learn and perform the arts. When I was there, I was student director of the organization and I truly am convinced that my coming back helped to allow these teens to see that the roles they take on NOW are much more important and not temporary at all.
The Project needed to be able to be rehearsed as much as possible, as "Les Belles Seour" was a play that was very heavy on monologue work and large ensemble scenes. Each character needed the one-on-one attention to address thier monologues and have personal feedback. When I came in twice a week, that was precisely what we did.
The Arts in this school do not have a profound difference on the community of Burbank itself, or the fundraising for the school (as much as we'd like), however, the difference is seen in these teens. The girl who came on stage whispering in the beginning and shouting at the end, who found her voice, she is the difference. The girl who gave her all and pushed herself to relate to a 30 year old woman on the brink of her second child crisis, but who was only 16, she continues to be the dfference as she leads the players in thier upcoming year. The girl who took a chance at a song one day and found she might be more, me, I can be the difference. The "MAYBE" in a teens life is crucial, "Maybe I CAN do this!" The Arts gave these "Maybes" a "YES!" These girls have the tools in them, they just needed a push.
The girls involved in the production were worried about the community's response, since this was a play about older and prejudiced women in an all girls, teenage school. The outcome was better than they could have expected, even the director had a great review for a little show that had a lot of " UMPH". It was said by the people that came from the Illiois high school theater festival to be a show full of matured (for the high school level) actors. The smiles on thier faces after that show were numerous.
When I was deciding where to receive my degree for the arts from, I had been struck by Columbia's slogan.. CREATE CHANGE. It seemed like such a command, a demand, from the youth of America, as if they knew I COULD so, "why hadn't I tried"? these two words propelled me to go where I was needed and to never ignore that. At first you can't be too sure in a community if you are intruding or actually assisting with something positive, for all parties involved. The Best part of volunteering my time and energy to these girls was the change they were able to see in themselves, a stronger, more confident, more mature, woman of change. Through the Arts, youth do not only learn the art of performance, but essential lessons of life in working together, to allow them to be women of peace, not only perceived as teens.
This project had certainly not been my ONLY project as a volunteer at my alma mater, however it remains my most memorable.
The Director, myself, and some of the cast from the Queen of Peace H.S. Fall Play 08'blog comments powered by Disqus