Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Artes Academy - more then just Theatre Games

Today we spend some time with one of the instructors of Artes Academy and occasional stage actor at Artes de la Rosa, Rob Bosquez.  Rob shares with us a particularly special story about working with the wonderful children and teens at Artes Academy... As Artistic Director, I'm very proud of our group of teens and their attention to social issues affecting their community... it truly is a brilliant illustration that what we do with our students at Artes Academy is more then just theatre games and plays. They are learning to be proud, articulate, and compassionate citizens of the community... that's why I say Artes Academy changes children's lives "drama"itcally. - Adam Adolfo, Artistic Director

October 25, 2012

Just wanted to catch everybody up on the goings on of late with the teen troupe over here at ARTES ACADEMY, we had the honor of performing our original play BIGFOOT & US for a large portion of Ft. Worth’s homeless community this past Saturday at Unity Park.

It was a thrilling and way fulfilling experience for myself and the students.

I showed up Friday at the location, just to get the  “lay of the land,” see the space we would be performing in the next day and talk to the folks in charge. Parked the car on Lancaster street and walked down Cedar about a block to get to the park. There were dozens of homeless folks all around, and I admit, for more than a few seconds, I was a bit wary of my surroundings... One of the guys said, “what’s up, man?”

I went on to explain that I was with a group who would be doing a play tomorrow in the park.

He said, “ Oh, ya’ll the ones doing that play about Bigfoot?”

“Yes we are,” I said, “my students, actually.”

“Come on this way, man... Let me introduce you to, Kelly.”

I then met the good folks at FED BY GRACE, a place that provides food, shelter, and ministry to the homeless citizens of our city, a Godsend if there ever was one. A very special group of people who definitely make a difference in thousands of folks lives.
A woman named Kelly showed me around the grounds which included above ground gardens, and quite impressive landscaping done by the small community there. Then I met Mr. Mansfield, the founder of FED BY GRACE, he was a dedicated man and very interested in the fact that a group of teenagers wanted to perform a play about BIGFOOT in the park for the homeless citizens...

Saturday came and we all met in the park, warmed up our bodies and voices and prepared to do our show for a park full of people. I told the kids, they will have to fight for their audience, as some people have no idea a play is about to be performed. There were about 300 people out there, some are in line to get food, some are here for hot coffee and to chat with friends or find a warm blanket. A play is the last thing on their minds...

"If you all go out there and give good confident performances, and believe in what we do, we will win over the park, and our audience..." So as the kids took the stage , they had a small crowd,  as the story went on, and their confidence grew and they got lost in the adventure and the Bigfoot puppet was unleashed to its full 12 foot tall glory, something special happened. All the stoic weather beaten faces began to smile, people were filling each other in on the story, spontaneous applause and laughter, genuine laughter spread through the park.

No we might not have won over everyone’s attention, but watching the children in the audience light up, and the appreciative crowd clamoring to take a photo with the Bigfoot puppet and the students, I knew we had touched and warmed the lives of a few good people who had fallen on hard times, and isn’t that the goal of what we do... to enlighten and entertain, and for about 30 minutes, bring joy and laughter to  a group of people who don’t often get to see live entertainment. There was at least a dozen people who told me after the play that this was their first ever theatrical experience ever. Many thanks to Director of Education Yvonne Duque and the Fed By Grace folks for making this happen. I know our kids got a lot out of it. They are learning about giving back to the community and helping people to heal with the power of story. These tales we tale can save lives and touch so many. We were all grateful for the opportunity to make a little difference in someone’s life, at least for a little while.

-Rob Bosquez, Teaching Artist, Artes Academy