“Becoming the Other,” our new theater class with Instructor Andrea Itkin

Posted on Wednesday February 25, 2015

Becoming the Other

Becoming the Other describes the intent of the theater class I am teaching at the school–putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, seeing the world as someone else sees it, finding the parts of yourself that exists in others. So far, the class has learned some improvisation and centering techniques, performed poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Sharon Olds, Dorianne Laux and Theodore Roethke, and read Glass Menagerie, Lost in Yonkers, and The Diary of Anne Frank.

I asked the students to identify the most memorable role they played.  While most picked characters from Lost in Yonkers, Myranda selected Anne Frank.  Here’s what they all had to say:

Rakeem: Jay because I often feel like I’m the person who has to stand up for other people.

Erika: Bella because she has a personality like no other. She is very outgoing and always stands up for herself. Bella doesn’t take anything from anyone, especially her mother.

Rose: Grandma. It was quite a challenge for me to act and keep an accent, as I had never done that before. I found it interesting that it was so easy for me to step into her character when I am so different from her as a person.

Faith: I had a lot of fun playing Bella because I got to be emotionally outrageous. I loved how she was raw, but still presented herself in a very light hearted way.

Alex: Artie because he was mischievous; I related to the scene of him going down to the freezer because I went down to the basement of the school to shut the power off to get out of class.

Ethan: Eddie, the father, because it was an easy connection for me.

Fiston: I loved playing Grandma, because she couldn’t speak good English and her personality was awesome.

Elijah: Jay because Alex and I could laugh at everyone together just like brothers; it was fun to play.

Myranda: Anne from The Diary of Anne Frank; she speaks her mind, she has her own little attitude and speaks as if she is older than she really is. She’s going through a hard time, and I can relate having to live in a small space with a lot of people and bumping heads a lot.

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A recent Becoming the Other Class with, L-R: Rakeem, Rose (holding a copy of that day’s reading, Diary of Anne Frank), Instructor Andrea Itkin, Erika, Myranda and Papi