NYC | April 11-16, 2018
Play by play . . .
Underground Writing and the Migrant Leaders Club have been collaborating together for 3 years (a few of our photos), inspiring students in the Skagit Valley of Northwest Washington. As a result of two anthologies of student writing--one from each program--and an additional partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Quiara Alegría Hudes, fifteen high schoolers from the Mount Vernon Migrant Leaders Club and four teachers travelled from Washington to New York to speak at the new musical, MISS YOU LIKE HELL.
We also brought along a videographer to document the trip and the stories of the migrant students. The film will be used by Underground Writing, the Migrant Leaders Club, and Quiara Alegría Hudes in their continuing efforts to see transformed communities.
A summary . . .
The core purpose of going to New York was to see Miss You Like Hell by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Pre-show we walked around NYU and Washington Square Park, arriving at The Public Theater at 6 p.m. Quiara had planned out the pre-show experience extremely well. She had us create a large circle comprised of Migrant Leader Students, actors, musicians, and trip chaperones. Each person got to say a few words about who they were. She then divided up students with actors and/or musicians. The next 30 minutes were devoted to the groups exchanging their stories: students got to read their short-bio/migrant-background pieces they wrote for the trip, and each actor told her/his story (including how they chose to become an actor). When the groups were finished, we circled up again and each person said aloud something they were grateful for in the sharing time. The comments ranged from “transformative” to “beautiful” to “eye-opening.” The musical itself offered a similar smorgasbord: powerful, funny, emotional, and brilliant. It was a moving experience, for sure. Afterwards, Quiara introduced herself and then the Migrant Leaders Club. They joined her on stage for about 15-20 minutes, answering questions from Quiara and the audience. It was a beautiful and empowering moment for the students, filled with much emotion. To conclude the evening, we had a brief tour of the theater, photos on stage, further discussion on stage and in the lobby with all the crew, and the students gifted Quiara with some Migrant Leaders Club and Underground Writing Thank You schwag we’d brought for the occasion. After taking the subway home, we tried to channel—more or less successfully—the group’s energy via having them write about the play, its themes, and what this transformative experience had meant to them. Quiara sent this the following day: "The magic was circular and it was healing for me, too. The students’ honesty and openness was a minor miracle to this hardened grownup."
Click on the photos above to see a sampling of images from our trip to New York City.
Sites, events, and people:
SeaTac and JFK airports, the New York subway system, Explorations Academy in the Bronx, Oaxacan Dinner at La Morada in the Bronx, Times Square, Hungry Ghost Coffee, Battery Park, NYU, Washington Square Park, The Public Theater, Quiara Alegría Hudes (and the cast & crew of Miss You Like Hell: Erin McKeown, Danny Mefford, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gizel Jiménez, Marinda Anderson, Danny Bolero, Andrew Cristi, Latoya Edwards, Shawna M. Hamic, Marcus Paul James, David Patrick Kelly, Michael Mulheron, Martin Solá), Miss You Like Hell, Manhattan, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, lunch in Chinatown, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, hand rolled ice cream from Blossom Ice Cream, Central Park, The Plaza Hotel, The Met, dinner in Little Italy, Bowling in Times Square.