Thoughts of an Actor - Boarding School Stories

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After a year in development and a lot of hard work from our Ensemble, we have just finished 2 performances at Universities in California of our Boarding School Stories. 

We'll be featuring impressions of this experience from the cast and crew themselves.  If you had the chance to see one of the performances, we'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page and if you'd like to see the performance live, consider Booking us to come to you!

Enjoy.

Carlisle Indian School
It has been a very enlightening experience to be apart of Stories From The Indian Boarding Schools. I joined the company after the staged reading of the play, and before the First performance at the Los Angeles Fringe Festival. It has been a wonderful gift to work on the play almost since it’s inception. What I find most profound about the play, is that the scenes are drawn from journals and first hand accounts of this tragic period. My knowledge of the Indian Boarding Schools before working on the play was not very extensive. I knew that the government mandated attendance. I was familiar with the general purpose of the Indian boarding schools, which was to civilize the “Indian Savage”. In truth, it’s one thing to read about the modernization of Indians in a text book, and totally different to read first hand accounts of the destruction of culture from the students themselves. It truly is a rare gift for an actor to be apart of the creative process. These stories become apart of you and you cannot help but feel as though you know the characters intimately. I would also attribute this to the source material because, the nature of these stories makes you instantly empathize with these poor children.

The company’s vision of the play from the beginning was to educate, inform, and transport the audience to the boarding schools. I am very grateful that I am apart of taking this play to universities and sharing these stories with students and faculty. We recently toured the production to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo on November 17th and at UCSD in San Diego on December 1st. Taking the show on the road has taught me so much about the native community in California. The faculty and students at both Universities were so welcoming and truly engaged in the stories that we shared. There was such a wide range of knowledge from people that were first or second generation descendants of boarding school survivors to people that had never heard of the Indian Boarding Schools. The power of this play is that it brings people together and allows for a healing on a human scale. If the audience is familiar with the stories, or hearing them for the first time. The human experience is that were all struggling together and want to make the world a better place. I’d like to thank Jean and Randy Reinholtz, and Rob Vestal for bring me into this project. I’d also like to thank Heidi at Cal Poly and Julie at UCSD. This was such an incredible experience and I have grown and learned so much as a person.

By Alec Shamas

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