By: Lydia Zhang
A performance of original student monologues, named “Faceoff: Tyranny vs. Resistance,” was recently held in the Little Theatre. “Faceoff” is part of the “Voices United: Bay Area” initiative, which was launched by the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre in order to help foster creativity in a diverse population of students around the Bay Area.
[pullquote]The inspiration for many of the student monologues was taken from Julia Alvarez’s novel “In the Time of the Butterflies.”[/pullquote]
The inspiration for many of the student monologues was taken from Julia Alvarez’s novel “In the Time of the Butterflies,” which told the story of Patria, María and Antonia Mirabal, three sisters who died fighting against Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Director Betsy Franco was invited to organize the performance. She visited theatre and creative writing classes at Gunn to encourage students to write and perform monologues. “I made suggestions, told them they could write about characters from [“In the Time of the Butterflies”] or about something contemporary that’s inspired by the book, but I didn’t tell them what to write their monologues on,” Franco said in an interview for the Huffington Post.
Senior Elena Cabot performed a monologue written by sophomore Dennis Mashevsky, and says that the performance went well. “We had a decent amount of people do their monologues,” Cabot said. “Even though we didn’t have a huge audience, I think it went well, [and] it was a good opportunity for me to gain more theater experience.” Franco says that she was also impressed by the “Faceoff” monologues. “[The students’] writing was excellent,” Franco said in an interview for the Huffington Post. “I was shocked at the skills at this school. They take drama very seriously and professionally, and that’s what I saw and was amazed by.”
Although the performance has passed, the student monologues will be compiled into a short film. Franco encourages anyone interested to go see the film on May 4 at the Lucie Stern Community Center at 7 p.m. “There is so much going on right now that we could get involved with in some way, or that we could understand better, or open our minds to,” Franco said. “I would also like people to see how capable teenagers are.”