Text and Community Program Hosts ‘Aquí Estoy’

Posted: March 4, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Since 1997, the Albany Park Theater Project (APTP) has been bringing to the stage voices that would otherwise be silenced. Comprised of multiethnic teens and young adults, the theater company creates original performance works based on the real-life stories of immigrant and working-class Americans.

The Text and Community Program at Mason will host APTP for its performance, “Aquí Estoy” (I Am Here), on Tuesday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. in TheaterSpace, located in the Performing Arts Building, Room A105, on the Fairfax Campus. The performance is free and open to the public.

“Aquí Estoy” is a duet of two original plays based on oral histories that chronicle the lives of undocumented immigrants.

“Amor de Lejos” is based on months of interviews conducted by APTP youth artists with day laborers who came to the United States from Central America and Mexico. “Nine Digits” tells the story of a young man who has lived the life of an undocumented immigrant since his parents brought him to the United States from Colombia when he was 6.

Performed in English, “Aquí Estoy” has just completed a critically and popularly acclaimed three-month run at the Laura Wiley Theater in Chicago.

APTP, directed by David Feiner and associate director Maggie Popadiak, has created more than 50 performance works integrating theater, music and dance. In 2004, APTP received the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The award honors outstanding arts programs that both celebrate the creativity of America’s young people and provide them with opportunities to contribute to their communities.

APTP provides a compelling example of the impact that becoming an artist can have on the life of a young person. In Chicago, almost half of the students who enter a public high school never make it to graduation. Ninety percent of APTP ensemble members graduate from high school (or earn a Graduate Equivalency Diploma) and matriculate into four-year colleges. More than 90 percent are the first in their families to go to college.

“Aquí Estoy” is one of several events scheduled as part of the Text and Community Program at Mason. Each year, the program conducts a semester-long project that seeks to foster exchanges across disciplines and interpretations of a text from multiple perspectives. “The Devil’s Highway” by Luis Urrea is featured this year. Urrea will give a reading from the book on Wednesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. For a complete schedule of events, visit the web site.

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