Young Playwright’s Theater was founded in 1995 by playwright Karen Zacarías in order, through interactive in-school and after-school programs, to teach DC metro area students to “promote community dialogue and respect for young artists.”
Saturday’s performance of the original student play, Out of the Shadow, was the culmination of YPT’s year-long Young Playwright’s Workshop. The single performance provided the students the opportunity to perform their play at Capital Fringe.
Out of the Shadow deals with the hot-button issue of bullying in the schools. The student playwrights used monologues, short scenes, poetry, and song to tell the stories of students bullied for race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, or just for being different.
Some of the short pieces focused on the way the victims of bullying are made to feel by their attackers, while other pieces showed the way students banded together to protect one another; one scene even used the story of a lost bird as a metaphor for being rejected from a new community.
The playwrights did a great job of incorporating humor into a play about a very serious subject. The pieces that addressed technology, immigration and language barriers, and trans-gender sexuality were particularly effective as these elements are often overlooked in traditional social commentary concerning bullying.
While a play about bullying with a group of adult actors would have seemed unnatural and forced, the YPT ensemble presented an important piece of theater that only a group of students could adequately create and perform.
As a reviewer, I would have liked to have been given more information about the nature of the program and a list of scenes containing the names of the playwrights and performers. Although I understand that this may have been eliminated out of respect for the privacy of the students, each of the actors and playwrights obviously put great effort into this piece and deserved to be recognized in this review.
Out of the Shadow has closed.
Jessica rates this a 4, out of a possible top rating of 5.
See more Fringe reviews here.