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The Face of America

Plays for Young People

2011
Author:

Children’s Theatre Company
Peter Brosius and Elissa Adams, editors

The Face of America

A collection of plays for young people, reflecting the ethnic diversity of the American landscape

The world of young people in the U.S. today is exhilaratingly global. With that, however, comes the need for children to retain confidence in their heritage while empathizing with people who might seem very different. The protagonists of these four plays—written for the world-renowned Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis—strive to achieve that balance with determination, love, and humor.

I am so pleased that there is a new anthology of plays for young people, and even more so since it contains the work of four compelling female playwrights. These four plays, with their varying plots and many great characters, are shows that young people should see. They are also shows that young people can perform in. Particularly by choosing pieces that explore the world of young people in the United States today, The Face of America speaks to their real stories and real lives.

Linda Hartzell, artistic director, Seattle Children’s Theatre

The world of young people in the United States today is exhilaratingly global, enriched by the influences of many various cultures. With that, however, comes the need for children to retain confidence in their own heritage while empathizing with people who might seem very different from them. The protagonists of these four plays—written for the world-renowned Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis—strive to achieve that balance with determination, love, and humor.

The richness and relevance of these plays lie in their complex portraits of diversity and cultural collision. In Snapshot Silhouette, Somali-born Najma and African American Tay C share the same skin color but struggle to understand each other. The heroine of Brooklyn Bridge must forge new connections with her Puerto Rican and West Indian neighbors while maintaining her connection to her Russian mother. In Esperanza Rising, Mexican immigrant farmworkers navigate complicated relationships with other Mexicans who are in the United States illegally. And in Average Family, the character who knows the most about the Dakota way of life is not a Native American but the daughter of a white family.

A culturally plural society can separate people by perceived chasms of unfamiliarity and difference. But as the characters in these plays learn, there can also be bridges built to span those chasms and connect the two sides. The plays in The Face of America will serve as cultural bridges for young people everywhere.

The Face of America

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC), located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is widely recognized as the leading theatre for young people and families in North America. Winner of the 2003 Tony® Award for regional theatre, CTC has received numerous honors, including awards from The Joyce Foundation and The Wallace Foundation. It participates in the National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development Program, the Shakespeare for a New Generation program, the EmcArts Innovation Lab funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the New Voices/New Visions 2010 series presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. CTC serves more than 250,000 people annually through performances, new play development, theatre arts training, and community and education programs. For more information about Children’s Theatre Company, visit www.childrenstheatre.org.

Peter Brosius is the artistic director of the Children’s Theatre Company.

Elissa Adams is the director of new play development at the Children’s Theatre Company.

The Face of America

I am so pleased that there is a new anthology of plays for young people, and even more so since it contains the work of four compelling female playwrights. These four plays, with their varying plots and many great characters, are shows that young people should see. They are also shows that young people can perform in. Particularly by choosing pieces that explore the world of young people in the United States today, The Face of America speaks to their real stories and real lives.

Linda Hartzell, artistic director, Seattle Children’s Theatre

This collection of plays powerfully tells the stories of the world of young people who struggle mightily yet make great strides to find their ways in an increasingly complex, global world. Each play is worth the read and will no doubt provide great material for drama coaches and their students.

ForeWord Reviews

Good theater is about exploring the basics of human relationships and the latest collection of plays published by the University of Minnesota Press, titled The Face of America: Plays for Young People...does just that.

Community Reporter

The Face of America

Contents


Preface Peter Brosius

Introduction Elissa Adams


Average Family
Larissa Fasthorse

Brooklyn Bridge
Melissa James Gibson

Esperanza Rising
Lynne Alvarez

Snapshot Silhouette
Kia Corthron


Contributors