A Day at the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club

On Saturday January 16th, the Company One Apprentices ventured into the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club and hosted an eye-catching, political and socially innovative event that focused on the groundbreaking news that covered the year 2015.

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The foundation of the event was the play AN OCTOROON by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, which will be Company One’s 2nd play of its 17th season. The play has many themes such as racism, love triangles, money, melodrama, and slavery. The characters that the Apprentices connected with most were two slaves: Minnie, an optimistic straightforward and fearsome dreamer, and Dido, her more reserved emotional and overly cautious best friend. The event was centered on the contemporary issues people are facing and how it is related to the social issues of the 1850s that Minnie and Dido lived in.

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Our participants were young members of the Boys and Girls Club, who ranged between the ages of 10 to 16. The event began with introductions from the Apprentices, Company One staff members from the Education and Dramaturgy departments, and the youth attendants.

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We then projected onto the wall a video of the last scene from the play featuring Minnie and Dido, followed by a witty commentary reaction clip featuring the Apprentices. This was then followed by another reaction video from Minnie and Dido, which prompted the youth members to creatively reflect on the year 2015. Each person was given a list of notable topics from 2015 to discuss – this list, which the Apprentices put together, included #NetflixandChill, Donald Trump, ISIS, Bill Cosby, Planned Parenthood, #BlackLivesMatter, and more.

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The discussion was very productive, encouraging, and the youth members had many valid points about the many topics. They each had to pick a topic and comment on that topic through any creative medium they chose. This could include a skit, rap, scene, poem, short story, letter, drawing, design, collage, etc. on how they felt about the topic.

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Youth members chose to design shirts, write poems and short stories, and create a graphic design on the computer. They were incredibly expressive, articulate and passionate about the topics they chose. Their work was innovative and all were impressed by the creativity in the room. Everyone came together to share out what they did and were supportive while their peers were expressing themselves. The act of reflecting on what has happened is a skill everyone, regardless of age or gender, has the capability to do. It was a dynamic and creatively rich event that the Apprentices will never forget!

 

Final Meeting for 2014-2015 Teaching Artists

Stage One Teaching Artists take a selfie with their program director.

Stage One Teaching Artists take an end-of-year selfie with their program director.

The Teaching Artists at Company One are the driving force behind our Stage One In-School teaching residencies. You may recognize them from appearances in C1 shows like SHOCKHEADED PETER, DISPLACED HINDU GODS TRILOGY, SPLENDOR, and HOW WE GOT ON, but they’ve spent the entire school year representing C1 and bringing their skills, talent, and artistic leadership to elementary, middle, and high school students all over Boston. Stage One theatre classes cover units like improvisation, playwriting, and social justice, and provide students with the foundational experience of working towards common artistic goals with their peers and using theatre as a tool to explore, represent, and articulate the values of their community. At our last program meeting, the Education staff and Teaching Artists shared some of their most memorable in-school moments and discussed their end-of-year plans for Stage One students. Keep an eye out for future posts of student work, feedback about their experience, and photos from final performances and showcases.

“Stop the Silence”- a spoken word piece written by C1 Production Apprentices

During their time with Company One Theatre, Teen Production Apprentices work on community engagement projects for each show that we produce in order to reach out and spark conversation in their communities about the work Company One is doing. With the current production in collaboration with ArtsEmerson, “We are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915” by Jackie Sibblies Drury, the apprentices decided to create a public service announcement video in which they shed light on some of the big issues surrounding the play. Check out the opening sequence to their video: Stop the Silence, a spoken word piece written by Brieana Valdez, Kemal Beyaztas, Shayna Bredbeck, Shawn Phillip, and Nada Shaaban!

Stop the Silence

Enough is enough, so we’re speaking up,

Against the silence and violence, that will soon again corrupt.

Not so simple as black and white, and yet these colors are the reason why we fight.

A certified homicide nationwide, recognize that genocide is never justified.

Company One theatre doesn’t just put on a show,

They’re spreading the word, for everyone to know.

The Herero of Namibia were taught a lesson,

A lesson from the man, to never second guess ‘em.

A heritage and pride that was once so strong:

Decimated,

Humiliated,

Obliterated,

It was all so wrong.

But what happened in Namibia is just one case,

Of how greed and violence disgrace the human race.

From Rwanda to Darfur, from Armenian to Assyrian,

These atrocities too often occur, too many lost in oblivion.

We’re here to spread the word,

And see how much you know,

And hopefully convince you to see this awesome show.

Spread the word,

Not the violence

Raise awareness

And STOP THE SILENCE.