It could end up looking like a traditional play, with various scenes, acts and a curtain in between the segments.
Or, it could be a series of poems. Or a musical. Or something that will become obvious as the work in progress heads towards a work in completion.
But however the performance concept of “Latinidades” turns out, it will primarily be written, acted, and staged by children ages 12-17, under the guidance of adults experienced in theater.
“The goal,” says Anastacia Narrajos, education manager for Evanston-based Mudlark Theater Company, “is to better serve the Latinx community,” because it has historically been underserved.
Students chosen for the project will interview members of Evanston’s Latinx community, including family members and friends, to craft stories about culture, history, and personal events which might not be known by a wider audience.
“People are hungry to get the stories out,” Narrajos says. Last week, Mudlark representatives met with the Spanish-speaking affinity group at Evanston Township High School to spread the word about the production.
Mudlark received a $47,000 grant from Northwestern University for the project. NU theater professors Myrna Garcia and Henry Godinez and Mudlark teaching artists will work with the students.
While there will be adult guidance, student writers and actors will “steer the ship,” says Narrajos.
The final production will be performed in the spring.
Anyone interested in taking part (it’s free) can find more information on the Mudlark website.
While the play is about the reality of Latinx life, anyone with an interest in local Latinx culture can apply.
In asking for participants, Mudlark flyers say “Are you ready to transform your community through theater?”
If this play turns out as hoped and expected, the model could also be applied to any student production focusing on any particular group’s experiences.
The key, says Narrajos, is to “center the student voices” in the writing, staging and acting of a play that can be “self-affirming” for the participants and the audience.