The Face of America
The Face of America
Plays for Young People
University of Minnesota Press, Paperback, 9780816673131, 279pp.
Publication Date: September 2, 2011
The world of young people in the United States today is exhilaratingly global, enriched by the influences of many various cultures. With that, however, comes the need for children to retain confidence in their own heritage while empathizing with people who might seem very different from them. The protagonists of these four plays written for the world-renowned Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis strive to achieve that balance with determination, love, and humor.
The richness and relevance of these plays lie in their complex portraits of diversity and cultural collision. In "Snapshot Silhouette," Somali-born Najma and African American Tay C share the same skin color but struggle to understand each other. The heroine of "Brooklyn Bridge "must forge new connections with her Puerto Rican and West Indian neighbors while maintaining her connection to her Russian mother. In "Esperanza Rising," Mexican immigrant farmworkers navigate complicated relationships with other Mexicans who are in the United States illegally. And in "Average Family," the character who knows the most about the Dakota way of life is not a Native American but the daughter of a white family.
A culturally plural society can separate people by perceived chasms of unfamiliarity and difference. But as the characters in these plays learn, there can also be bridges built to span those chasms and connect the two sides. The plays in "The Face of Americ"a will serve as cultural bridges for young people everywhere.
"I am so pleased that there is a new anthology of plays for young people, and even more so since it contains the work of four compelling female playwrights. These four plays, with their varying plots and many great characters, are shows that young people should see. They are also shows that young people can perform in. Particularly by choosing pieces that explore the world of young people in the United States today, The Face of America speaks to their real stories and real lives." —Linda Hartzell, artistic director, Seattle Children’s Theatre