Wayfinders: Unmasked

Posted on Monday May 18, 2015

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Our residential students have just completed the final performance of their new theater class, Becoming the Other. Over the year, they’ve performed dramatic readings of The Glass Menagerie, Lost in Yonkers, Diary of Anne Frank and others. For their final production, the kids wrote and performed their own original piece: Unmasked.

myranda art

After designing masks in art class that they wore for the first part of the performance, each student answered a series of questions bout their journey at school, posed by the play’s narrator, Instructor Andrea Itkin. The results were pretty powerful. If you’ve ever wondered how our residential students make the journey from strangers on the first day of school to family on the last, if you’ve ever wondered what they really thought and hoped and dreamed for over the course of this incredible year together, read on…

camden with masks

 Off stage call from narrator: Andrea Itkin: “I WEAR THIS MASK…”

On stage response from students, wearing their masks:

“When there’s something wrong with me”

“To make me comfortable”

“To make me look tough”

“To show my strength, my wisdom, my passion and my fury”

“To make people think I have it together when I really don’t”

“Because a study shows that 69% of people prefer a manicured lawn”

“To hide my identity”

“So people only see what I want them to see”

“To make people think I can handle what life throws at me”

“To hide my emotions”

“To scare people; to be alone”

“To fight for my belonging”

“To protect myself; to fit in”

Narrator: “MY MASK…”

Students:

“Makes the mirror easier”

“Is a cool tiger”

“Is composed”

“Is who I am”

Narrator: “WITHOUT THIS MASK…”

Students:

“Everything would fall apart”

“I would be weak”

“I would lose the game”

“I would be open and honest”

“I would be me”

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Narrator: “I CAME TO SCHOOL WITH….”

Students:

“Peace and respect”

“Happiness”

“Excitement”

“Uncertainty”

“Nervousness”

“No choices left”

Narrator: “ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL I THOUGHT…”

Students:

“This is hard”

“Wow. This is way weirder than I was prepared for it to be”

“This is going to be easy. I can just do whatever I want”

“They won’t even let us go outside for a walk after 10. I’m used to living alone, by my own rules.”

“Wow. This is it, huh? Feels like jail”

“I guess I could leave now, if I really wanted to…shit…pull it together. I need some air. This campus is beautiful. I want to stay out here and watch the trees and the clouds and smell the air and feel the light and go get my bags from upstairs and sneak out the doors and run down the street…No! Damn it, lady, get your ass inside and shake somebody’s hand.”

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Narrator: “I BROUGHT SOME OTHER BAGGAGE BESIDES MY CLOTHES AND TOOTHBRUSH…”

 Students:

“Fear of being judged”

“Distrust and loss, loss and distrust”

“My adoption”

“My addiction. And stress. Lots of stress”

“Three or four bags full of bricks-full of lies, hate, anger, disloyalty, agony”

“My hopes and dreams for my son”

“Self-hatred”

“So many triggers”

“Peace. Respect. Africa”

Narrator: “AT FIRST…”

Students:

“It was hard to be away from my family”

“People were bumping heads, pushing people’s buttons until a big blow out would happen and we would have to figure out ho to solve it with a (resolution)circle”

“I was not a nice person”

shannon

Narrator: “I WISH I NEVER EVER…”

Students:

“Smoked weed”

“Had to figure out so many things on my own”

“Said so many mean things to people who were just trying to help”

“Hated myself”

Narrator: “THE HARDEST THING ABOUT SCHOOL…”

Students:

“Is being liked, while liking myself”

“Is being away from my family for so long”

“Is having so many people depending on me”

Narrator: “I WANT TO REMEMBER…”

Students:

“All of the school adults, all of them; they never give up on the students.”

“Everything I’ve been through at this school, good and bad.”

“I could be in Long Creek for two years instead of getting my diploma.”

“That I’m a kickass-musical-elephant-mask-making-intelligent-beautiful-prompt-answering feminist. Who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Oh! And I want to remember volume is length times width times height.”

“How it feels to have so many people rooting for my success.”

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Narrator: “If I COULD BE FREE OF MASKS, FREE OF SCHOOL, JUST FREE…”

Students:

“I would live like no one else was around and be the person I was always meant to be.”

“I would teach. Play music. Love. Learn.”

“I would dance. Hell, that’s why I do dance because that’s the only time I feel free.”

“I would paint because it makes me feel happy.”

“I would play soccer all the time. All the time.”

“I would move to Cabo, buy a beach house and never leave.”

“I would be unafraid.”

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