On Thursday evening (Jan. 20) drama students at Rainier Beach High School will present the first and only public performance of a play written in their own words and coached by Seattle Repertory Theatre artists. The play, "Two Truths and a Lie," explores the truths and lies that start with everyday conversation, gossip, and news media reports, and then get blended into a person’s (or a school’s) reputation.
“Everybody knows,” said Scott Koh, the Rep's schools program manager, “that Beach was just named one of the 50 lowest-achieving schools in Washington. These talented, very charismatic kids know how they are perceived, and they have interesting responses to how they’re seen by the world outside the school.”
A few readers of an article about the coming play on komonews.com posted nasty comments that vividly illustrate some publicly held impressions of the school and its students. The staging of the play Thursday evening will give a broad Seattle audience a chance to disentangle truth from lies and stereotyping by seeing firsthand some of what Rainier Beach is really about.
Seattle Rep's YES project was developed to foster young playwrights in area schools by helping drama students create and publicly stage plays they write themselves. The schools involved in YES this academic year were Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, and Woodinville high schools. Three of the Rep's theater teachers began several months of work with the Rainier Beach drama class with a variety of theater games that elicited flows of conversation and remarks from the students. Out of their words, Seattle Rep Education Director Andrea Allen crafted a play that students then critiqued, revised, expanded, and otherwise made their own.
Said Koh, “The play captures what these kids say about their lives, and it's meant to start a larger conversation afterwards, with the audience.” In deliberately setting out to provoke discussion, the play reflects “the core of what theater is all about — the origins of theater. And when the students are up in front of an audience of strangers and getting to say what they think, it has a profound influence on them.”
Come see the play, participate in the post-performance discussion with the actors, and celebrate the talent and the efforts of these kids.
If you go: "Two Truths and a Lie," followed by a discussion with the audience, will be performed on Thursday (Jan. 20) at 7 p.m., Rainier Beach High School, 8815 Seward Park Ave. S. Free. (Please RSVP to 206-443-2202 x1043.)