The questions Westminster High’s theater students have been putting to their family members might seem a little strange.
“What’s in a funeral that took you by surprise?” or “What’s your position on death?”
Those are a few of the …
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Those are a few of the questions they’ve have been asking their family members, in preparation for the school’s annual fall production, called “No Escrito, or The Unwritten.”
Students gathered stories from family members regarding death, and with the help of Theatre Director Clare Hammoor, have woven them into a dramatic production of dance, music and powerful narrative.
“I think it’s pretty awesome to participate in this production because we’re making it up along the way, so there’s a part of all of us in it.” Said student Michelle Hernandez, 15.
Hammoor recently moved to Westminster from New York, and decided this year’s production should lend a voice for the students.
“I wanted this to be an emphasis is on kids’ voices, and let them tell stories of their ancestors.” Said Hammoor. “Some will be telling stories verbatim, some will be a collage of stories, some monologs and some dialogs.”
Some of the stories are pretty dramatic, including a re-enactment of an ancestor who walked the trail of tears while pregnant. She gave birth and was forced to leave her child behind, which is acted out by students during the production.
“I really think my family will enjoy it,” said Hernandez. “We are from Mexico, and the Day of the Dead is kind of memorial for those who have died, and a chance for us to honor them.”
Students have created all the costumes, and scenic design classes have designed the sets for the production, which will also be translated bilingually.
This is the first time Westminster has presented a production created specifically using student experiences, and Hammoor believes the community will enjoy the work students have put into No Escrito.
“I am passionate about using student-driven theatre as an inquiry tool. With this show, we’re digging into our Westminster community and its memories, histories and dreams as a way of exploring our pasts, presents and futures.” Hammoor said.
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