From the mouths of innocents

Modern poverty
By SONYA TOMLINSON  |  May 13, 2009

It has become an unwelcome reality, living from paycheck to paycheck and worrying about job stability, but what about being born a guiltless young person growing up with a drug-addicted parent, no job skills, and no home?

Meet Rich, for example. He sits down to scan the classifieds, itching incessantly. "You need a license for this one — don't have that. Gotta have a drug test for this job — can't do that. You need a GED for this one — don't have that." He wipes his nose, shakes his leg nervously, and tosses the paper away in complete discouragement at finding himself back at square one.

Rich is one of four characters in Listen Up, a play put together by Maine Inside Out, a performing and creative arts organization working with young people both in and out of the juvenile detention system. The idea is that even prisoners need opportunities for creative expression, and doing so can be helpful in reintegrating with society upon release.

The four cast members are all working their GEDs, as well as vocational studies, and collectively chose the theme of poverty for the play, because each has personally suffered its consequences. Each character is a different victim of society: a single father making minimum wage, a 10-year-old girl with a crack-addicted mother, a teenage hustler, and a young man abandoned by his family and living on the streets who turns to drugs and alcohol.

In a post-performance discussion, cast members said the characters were, while not entirely true to life, based on their own and others' real experiences. And it provided a view from outside themselves, as well: After an audience member stood up and said the performance had brought her and the stranger sitting next to her to tears, the sole female cast member said, "I look back in history and I realize the way I live is not my fault."

Related: Lender bending, Fair Share?, Theater workshop brings Long Creek kids out of their shells, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Business, Health and Fitness, Addiction and Recovery,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
    Excerpts of several original plays, Live from the Edge , brought out the varied traits of Bronx-based performance group Universes.
    The overwhelming scent of assorted perfumes and folks in their Sunday best filled the St. Lawrence for Good Theater's annual production of "Broadway at Good Theater."
  •   EDUCATED ADVOCATES  |  March 17, 2010
    At the Big Easy, February 16
  •   FRESH BEDROCK  |  March 08, 2010
    Dessa Darling could never be limited to one area of interest to devote her passions — an author, lyricist, singer, teacher, philosophy-degree holder and lover of linguistics who cuts off and donates her hair to children in need every time she releases something big.
  •   TWO: AN ORIGINAL MUSIC SERIES  |  February 10, 2010
    Port City Music Hall's Two Series two-dollar cover, two-dollar drafts from 8 to 11 pm.

 See all articles by: SONYA TOMLINSON