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Bilingual Theater Troupe to Perform on Campus

Posted on May 9th, 2006

Theatro Chirmol group Theatro Chirmol group

Teatro Chirmol, a bilingual youth theater program at EMU, will present its spring production, "I.D.," 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 13-14, in the mainstage theater of the University Commons.

"I.D." (Identification) is an original bilingual play that examines the relationships between immigrants and the established community, including local law enforcement, raising questions about individual identity and perceptions. At times sad, at times humorous, I.D. takes an honest look at what it means to be both an immigrant and a long-time resident of the Shenandoah Valley.

Original Work

Twelve local high school students, several EMU students and several community members have been busy writing scripts, creating scenes and engaging in weekly dialogue sessions since January about issues related to immigration in the Shenandoah Valley, such as:

– What does it feel like to arrive in the U.S. without adequate language ability or an understanding of local culture, customs and the laws?

– What do those who’ve lived in the Shenandoah Valley their whole lives think of the "strangers" who arrive daily looking for work, a better life and a way to earn enough money to support family members back in their home country torn apart by war or economic strife?

Program Thriving

This is the fourth season for Teatro Chirmol, which is supported by EMU’s Community Learning Center. Each semester focuses on a different theme; last December the group presented the traditional Mexican nativity play, "La Pastorela." Spring semester provides opportunity for students to write their own material, which results in several shorter sketches, mimes and original work.

"Teatro Chirmol seeks to provide a space and place where as a community we can open up conversations about difficult topics and grow together in our understanding and appreciation for the wonderful diversity that exists in our community," said Deanna F. Durham, director of community learning at EMU.

Grant funds have been provided by the Arts Council of the Valley and the Virginia State Commission for the Arts.

General admission to the play is $4 for adults and $2 for students and children.

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