Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
Woodbridge High School recently held the second annual Theatre Winter Festival “Through the Eyes.” It was produced, designed, directed, and performed entirely by students in Theatre II, III, and IV classes. The festival featured two one-acts unified by the emotions of loss and grief. “Mockingbird” was written by Julie Jensen and “110 Stories” by Sarah Tuft. Students approached the shows with an understanding that when people connect through tragedy, it is a shared human experience.
“Mockingbird” is about Caitlin, a fifth-grade student who is autistic and has recently lost her older brother to a mass shooting. She struggles to process and express her emotions regarding her brother while finding her new “normal” at school and home. She even learns how to make friends.
Student director Miriam Elhadidi and actress Kaylie Farfan both pulled from personal experiences while working on “Mockingbird.” Farfan said that a family member provided her with ample knowledge to realistically portray the role of Caitlin. Elhadidi also has an autistic family member. She brought him with her to some rehearsals. Other students involved had an opportunity to interact with and learn from him.
The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, provide the setting of “110 Stories.” These stories tell the first-hand accounts of those who experienced the unthinkable nearly 19 years ago.
Kevin Turcios, one of the three directors for “110 Stories,” talked about how he prepared for the show. “Growing up in a post 9/11 world, I have only seen the photos and videos from that day. They provided a visual that helped me to understand the tragic events that occurred. The character I am performing was a photojournalist. … I spent a lot of time reviewing his work to understand what he was experiencing as the events unfolded that day,” said Turcios.
Both plays showcase how people handle tragdedy and loss, from different points of view. Students producing plays with maturity and compassion is Positively PWCS!