Two nights ago, I went to check out an evening of short plays that were written by students in a class that my friend has taught for the past 16 weeks. He told me about the event a couple of weeks ago so I wanted to go and support him. Little did I know just how much I would enjoy the evening.
This class was under TheatreWorks!, a part of The Working Theater's "25 Projects/25 Weeks/25 Years" series celebrating their 25th anniversary. The class is truly a remarkable part of the series. Basically, working adults from all walks of life, all education levels, all backgrounds, and all reading/writing levels take this class to broaden their 'creativity horizon'. They work like normal during the day and come to class in efforts to comfortably explore how to express deep inner feelings and how to find their voice. As my friend wrote, "For some, it's the first thing they have ever written and I mean the first thing; not a letter before or even a grocery list. One woman from Albania with less than a third grade education wrote a heartbreaking play about the loneliness and longing she experienced on a trip back to her country. She wrote it entirely phonetically". I mean, talk about amazing. The other night was the culmination of their hard work performed and let me just tell you what a pleasure it was to see.
Most of the people were maintenance workers, doormen, security guards; people that, on the surface, one might never think would have such creativity buried inside. I was brought to tears several times both by the performances and what they were based on and by what the authors printed in the "playbill" about themselves and their lives. Most of the performances had to do with issues like alcoholism, prejudice, and issues with god and I thought each one was fascinating. Yes, a couple had no clear or streaming line of thought but, for the most part, I was deeply touched by what these people had to say. Their honesty and openness in sharing a piece of themselves moved me and I was truly glad to be a part of their evening.
My friend is such an amazing man and it was totally a testament of who he is by being a part of leading such a program like this. I'm really glad there are guys out there like him with such humility who truly touch people the way I hope I do, too.