Last week, I took the Harlem Teens down to the historic Nuyorican Poets Cafe, an acclaimed arts venue in the Lower East Side of Manhattan that celebrates the works of multi-cultural artists in all disciplines. Started in 1973, the Nuyorican is one of the most highly respected arts venues in the country, with a purpose to provide a stage for artists traditionally under-represented in mainstream media.
I found out that Tony Award winning actor, poet, and playwright Sarah Jones was performing there last week, so I made sure the girls got a chance to experience her live! We went to see Sarah Jones perform her brilliant one-woman show, derived from her previous play, Bridge & Tunnel (produced off-Broadway by Oscar winner Meryl Streep), where she portrays characters from different cultural backgrounds. Her work effectively brings the voices of diverse backgrounds to life, providing insight towards the human connectivity that we experience across race, class, and gender.
I felt it was important to have the girls see the different perspectives and dynamics that exist in our society, to broaden their awareness. I was thrilled to find how much they enjoyed the show. They felt that her discussions, especially one of her portraying the life of a police officer, interestingly depicted the voice that we don't often see behind the uniform. Below, you will find the picture of Sarah portraying a woman from Jordan, where respectfully and eloquently speaks from the perspective of an Arab woman on the recent protests in Egypt: "In the recent situations in Egypt, we witness that when we come together, we are able to galvanize the impossible".
It was wonderful to watch the girls enjoy and become entertained by Sarah Jones' show, while at the same time be able to soak in knowledge about issues around the world. I felt very inspired by their excitement and eagerness to learn, and especially happy when they told me it was one of the best plays they've ever seen! -Ruby