Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Brooklyn High School of the Arts Performance Next Week!

The election is over, the votes have all been counted, and the presidential campaigns of Gov. Mitt Romney and Pres. Barack Obama have come to a halt. But in the auditorium of Brooklyn High School for the Arts, students are investigating peoples’ motivation for voting in a new performance created with Civilians teaching artist Marsha Stephanie Blake. Since the start of the school year, these high schoolers have been going around Brooklyn with cameras and audio recorders asking people, ‘why do you vote?’ and the answers they got back are now the fodder for a dynamic and probing show premiering December 3 and 4.

As the performance comes closer, Frank Proudfoot, the school’s drama teacher and the director of the show, instructs the students to project in the deep auditorium. Students hustle around as Proudfoot and Blake usher their actors stage left, and bring one ‘bored student’ character downstage to interrupt the action with his complaining. Those awaiting their turn on stage in the audience quickly finish their afternoon snacks and go over their lines to make sure they know them front to back. Others gather with their friends and scene partners to go over their bits in the hall, all while Blake talks to students onstage about developing characters. One sophomore asks Mr. Proudfoot, ‘Does my character have to be hoodish? My mom is going to be mad at me, even though I’m just acting.’ Mr. Proudfood laughs and says simply that she should try to stay truthful to the person she is portraying. The student thinks for a second and laughing, responds, ‘Ok. I’ll play her hoodish, but like, intelligent hoodish.’

With the expert teaching skills and care of Proudfoot and Blake, these students have risen to the occasion to put on an exciting and thought-provoking Civilians performance. With a song from Michael Friedman, this show on why people vote touches on themes of democracy, race, youth, and citizenship, and reminds us that not only is it important to be an informed voter, but it is equally important to understand our fellow Americans, and how we can work together to create a better world for all, especially our youngest.

Thanks to Adam Odsess-Rubin for writing this post for us. And we hope you'll join us next Monday or Tuesday for the show - $10 at the door! See you then!

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