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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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04/27/2006 Archived Entry: "Local News: 3/7/11: A LINCOLN HEIGHTS TALE"


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Cornerstone Theater Company presents two free public performances of 3/7/11: A LINCOLN HEIGHTS TALE, a new play written by José Cruz González and directed by Laurie Woolery. Over 65 students from three Lincoln Heights Schools will perform with the support of professional theater artists.

Lincoln Heights has been seized by a thorny witch, a Pachuco lone wolf, and a mysterious ice queen. Will the young people find their collective voice in time to save their community? Join us as Naoya Imanishi's 3rd grade class at Loreto Elementary School, Raphael Lieberman's 7th grade class at Nightingale Middle School, and Jean Collins' 11th grade class at Lincoln High School wrestle to find the answer. This show has been created as part of Cornerstone’s Participatory Educational Program. Our mission is to introduce theater to young people and to promote reading, inspire writing and increase critical thinking.

Friday, May 5, 2006 at 7:00pm
Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 12:30pm

At Lincoln High School Auditorium
3501 North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90031
(Northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood)

No reservations necessary.
For further information call (213) 613.1700 ext.33

This project is the culmination of 8 months of creativity, play and really hard work from the more than 65 participating students. The project is the first time performing on stage for most of these young actors and a first for Cornerstone – our first participatory education show with young people as artists onstage telling their stories.

The idea for 3/7/11 came from watching a student audience about a year ago. The audience ranged from 6th graders through Continuation High School students, and as they talked in the post show discussion, we were struck by the way they listened to each other: the younger kids impressed but not intimidated by the older students and the older students enjoying listening to and remembering their own younger perspective. Inspired by the ways in which young people listen to other young people, we decided to use theater to explore: What is it like to tell your story and to have your story be heard? What is it like to listen to and hear other people’s stories? We were curious about how the stories would be different across the different ages and what would be the same for all the young people?

We found three great schools: Loreto Elementary, Nightingale Middle School and Lincoln High School and three amazing teachers: Naoya Imanishi, Raphael Lieberman and Jean Collins who were willing to go on this year-long journey with us. We began in September 2005 and spent the Fall exploring theater, storytelling and writing with the students.

Our playwright, Jose Cruz Gonzales took the students’ words and thoughts and emotions about their age, their neighborhood, our world and created three short plays: a third grade play, a seventh grade play, and an eleventhth grade play, The students rehearsed these one-act plays with director Laurie Woolery in March and April and will perform their one acts for the other participating students.

For this show, we bring all 65 students together to look at this neighborhood, Lincoln Heights, from three different age perspectives. And to gain the joint perspective that all 65 students share: that of young people in our city and world today. This has been a courageous journey for all these young people; most of whom had never done theater before, many of whom did not think they could or should be on a stage at all–– all of whom have many things going on in their lives and in their schools.

Cornerstone has been privileged to take this journey with these students. These are really great kids and great humans – funny, smart, sensitive, creative, kind and brave. We have also been privileged to work with our teachers – three caring educators who give so much to their students. In addition, we have also had tremendous help and support from the passionate Principals and Assistant Principals at these schools who helped us navigate LAUSD and work within the system to make the impossible happen onstage.

José Cruz González served as Project Director of South Coast Repertory’s Hispanic Playwrights Project for 11 seasons. His plays include Lily Plants A Garden, The Red Forest, September Shoes, Always Running, Mariachi Quixote, Cousin Bell Bottoms, Two Donuts, Salt & Pepper, The Highest Heaven, Manzi (The Adventures of Young César Chávez), The Magic Rainforest (An Amazon Adventure), Marisol's Christmas, La Posada, Harvest Moon, Calabasas Street, Spirit Dancing and Odysseus Cruz. Mr. González has written for PAZ, a new series produced by Discovery Kids for the Ready Set Learn! block on The Learning Channel. Mr. González was a recipient of a 1997 NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights and in 1985 Mr. González was a National Endowment for the Arts Director Fellow. He is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, where he received his MFA in Directing. He teaches theatre at California State University at Los Angeles. Mr. González is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., a national board member of ASSITEJ/USA and an Associate Artist with Cornerstone Theater Company.

Replies: 1 Comment

It sounds adorable having 3rd graders perform.

Posted by Kathy Gallegos @ 04/28/2006 03:35 PM PST

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