May 05, 2008

Native playwrights express themselves

Coeur d'Alene student playwrights promote expressionThe crowd was enthusiastic and responsive as the eight young student playwrights from schools on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation gathered to take a bow after hearing professional actors read their plays. Comments like "motivational as well as inspirational" and "hallelujah, great job" reflected the reaction of those in attendance at the public presentation.

It was all part of the Mentor Artists Playwrights Project from Los Angeles, which returned to the Coeur d'Alene Reservation for the third time in four years to work with local youth. It was sponsored by the tribe's Department of Education, headed by Chris Meyer, and its commitment to arts programming.

Students are each paired with a mentor who works one-on-one in a series of workshops to create these two-person, one-act plays. Some of the mentors themselves are Native students from North Idaho College and the University of Idaho. The subjects come from the students who are encouraged to look within themselves at their hopes, dreams and innermost thoughts. Then, using metaphor--often using animals or forces of nature as the media to communicate these thoughts--and with dramatic, emotional monologue, the plays unfold.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

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