Créé le mardi 26 mars 2013 09:40
Word for Word, the professional theater company from San Francisco California that performs short works of fiction verbatim, has been a presence at EABJM since 1998, when we brought our production of Langston Hughes’ great short story, “The Blues I’m Playing” to play in the auditorium of the school. From that narrow little stage, Word for Word has branched out and become involved in many ways with the students and teachers at the school. So many great stories and characters have jumped onstage, often performed by students in our 3-week workshops for the English Department. This has grown to include 3 after-school ateliers (collège and primaire), as well as performances from our professional theater company on stage in the new theater. And now, EABJM and the Fondation Jeannine Manuel sponsor one night of the professional company’s annual French our at the Théatre Adyar, with EABJM students acting as ushers, and EABJM classes present for the show. (This year’s presentation, You Know When the Men Are Gone, suitable for ages 16 and up, is on April 3 at Théatre Adyar, 4 square Rapp, 8 pm)
The English Department has been so supportive of our work: it feels like a real partnership between Word for Word and the school. Over the past 15 years, I’ve seen countless students—all full of joy, energy, and the great creativity that doing theater can bring. Kids gain confidence, work together as a team, and bring their own imagination and expression to the task of creating a piece of theater from a work of literature. I’ve seen ingenious moments in the creation of “Coraline”, a hilarious version of Alvin Schwarz’ “Scary Stories 3”, an enchanted rendition of e.e. cummings’ “the little horse is newlY”, a thrilling commando-style version of “Overheard on a Salt Marsh” and so many, many more. Currently, with my 3 after-school ateliers we are having a great time with clothespins on the nose (actor idea, not mine!) in Tim Burton’s “Roy, the Toxic Boy”; with the many shifting scenarios in “The Hunger Games”; and with the magic needed to create an invented world in Neil Gaiman’s “Instructions”.
Theater is the great enhancer: it energizes, calls for imagination and creativity, and brings people together. It creates the ensemble. One of our students, whose first language is neither French nor English, said this: “I think that the sensation that I got after the theater will remain in my heart until my death, I will never forget that feeling.” That’s about the best anyone can say, and all of us at Word for Word are profoundly grateful to everyone at EABJM who has helped to make that moment, and so many others, possible.
--Susan Harloe, Artistic Director, Word for Word Performing Arts Company