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March 10th, 2017 by Arcadia Weekly
A young Latina yearns for her absentee dad’s attendance at her quinceañera. A Chinese immigrant student’s emotional conflict over leaving his homeland. Two best friends’ hilarious bonding over an “illegal” substance. A young Mexican American boy’s tribute to his loving influential father.
These are but a few of the raw, honest, comical, and poignant stories that have been explored, written, and expressed in the MY OWN STORY (MOS), an autobiographical writing/storytelling/performing workshop facilitated/taught by critically acclaimed solo performance/theater artist Alex Luu at the continuation school Doug Sears Learning Center in Temple City, part of Temple City School District.
For most of us in our daily lives, we rarely get a chance to tell our own stories on our own terms; this is especially true for underrepresented and/or marginalized communities/groups. This is all the more true for (at-risk) youth of color, who struggle with varying obstacles such as lower socio-economic backgrounds, single-parent homes/upbringing, and traumatic loss due to gang violence.
MOS allows participants that rare opportunity to come into a safe space wherein they will be able to be heard, listened to/validated and dig deep beyond the surface to explore, unearth, write, and ultimate perform their own stories, thereby countering the oft-stereotyped, misrepresentations/under representations of their experiences in popular media/culture. Themes and elements that MOS participants engage in include identity, family dynamics/conflicts, racism, cultural & family rituals, body image/politics, etc.
After having seen a final performance of MOS at Temple City High School in Mar.16, Doug Sears Learning Center Principal Chris Sewell reached out to Luu and they both agreed that bringing the MOS workshop to the students at DSLC would be beneficial and transformative on multiple levels. It is one thing to read, rehearse, and perform lines from a published play; it is an entirely different and unequivocally brave undertaking to be completely bold and honest in revealing and performing autobiographical elements from one’s own life experiences.
The workshop has been meeting three times per week since Jan. 24 and will culminate with a performance at the Doug Sears Learning Center campus and is open to the public on Mar. 23.