For the past five months, students from Downtown High School’s Acting for Critical Thought program have been writing monologues and plays, taking acting classes, and exploring the themes of resistance and resilience.
Acting for Critical Thought exemplifies the continuation high school’s commitment to project-based learning, an approach that is both demanding and rewarding. This particular group of students took the challenge in stride. Their writing reflects their lives, examining true-to-life topics in a fresh and vibrant way. The culminating publication, You Belong to the Sky, is a gripping collection of theater writing.
On May 20, students, families, tutors, and theater enthusiasts gathered at the American Conservatory Theater Costume Shop to see these students give life to their work. We had the pleasure of watching them perform a number of monologues and two plays expressing their thoughts on resistance and resilience. Works ranged from the personal to the imaginary. Some students told stories from the perspectives of their parents, others from the perspective of South Africans during apartheid, while all showed a unique interpretation of the theme.
The performance was a thrilling conclusion to the semester, as it featured the best aspects of the students’ work—their wonderful ear for dialogue and their insatiable appetite for life. What follows is excerpted from Cecilia Quintana’s monologue, “Imagine”:
“I want to know what hurts you the most. I want you to tell me all I need to know, anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to say to me. I wish you never left. Just imagine . . . ”
A special thanks to all of the brilliant and brave students in the Acting for Critical Thought program, as well as the teachers, Eunice Nuval and Robert Ayala, the American Conservatory Theater, and all of our talented tutors.