by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director
I accompanied my Theatre Action Project co-worker, Amanda Davis, to Wooten Elementary last week to see day two of The Heroes/Los Heroes. Teaching Artists, Stephanie Chavez-Noell and Mitch Bowman, had about 20 energetic students meeting on a curtained-off cafeteria stage. It made for a fun and intimate setting and it empowered the storytelling that much more, as Stephanie and Mitch masterfully transformed the hour with fun characterizations.
Day Two or el segundo dia of The Heroes/Los Heroes helps teach students about what feelings are, how feelings are expressed and about how to read those feelings in others. With a high percentage of the students being primarily Spanish speakers this particular morning, Stephanie and Mitch fluidly used their bilingual skills to guide students on a fact-finding mission. Tomas the Turtle advises Sammie the Salamander to travel to Costa Rica to find Doña Flor who has the “super very important book” with the next steps to teaching everyone about how to get along.
Sam: Costa Rica? ¿Quieres que yo vaya a Costa Rica para conocer a su prima, Doña Flor, y encontrar las otras páginas del libro? Pero, ¿dónde está Costa Rica? Where is that? I’ve never even been out of Barton Springs before! (Costa Rica? You wanted me to go to Costa Rica to meet your cousin Doña Flor and find other pages of the missing book? But where is Costa Rica?)
I wish I had had access to bilingual theater in my school growing up. Not because I lived in a bilingual home, but because I lived in a bilingual community. Language is a cultural connector. What other cultural connectors do you see in your community?