TRUST begins in a small theater as a group of teenage actors receive a standing ovation, then takes us back to the beginning, when Marlin, an 18-year-old Hondureña tells a traumatic story about her life to the company. Amazing things unfold as the young members of Chicago’s Albany Park Theater Project transform the story into a daring, original play. TRUST is about creativity and the unexpected resources inside people you might discount because they are poor, young or of color.
APTP is a neighborhood theater project dedicated to helping young people reimagine their experiences on stage. Marlin’s is one of incredible struggle and pain, from enduring rape as young girl, to the difficult journey of immigrating to the U.S., to further abuse at the hands of her own brother, and finally to emancipation and overcoming substance addiction.
On a warm summer afternoon, Marlin sits in a circle with about 25 young APTP members, takes a deep breath and says “I don’t want you to remember me like this.” And then she begins. At age twelve, she was raped by two men in the bathroom of her grandmother’s church in Honduras. She told no one. Two years later, she immigrated with her older brother Carlos to live with their mother in Chicago, where Carlos repeatedly raped her. She didn’t resist – she felt she’d already lost everything – but keeping those secrets weighed heavily on her and she drank, took drugs, cut herself, ran away from home and attempted suicide. Her mother committed Marlin to a psychiatric hospital, where she spent nearly 200 nights. Finally she confided her secrets to a counselor who helped her and recommended the Albany Park Theater Project (APTP), a neighborhood teen theater company that creates original plays from members’ real life stories. TRUST follows Marlin and APTP as they take her story from the personal to the public and the APTP ensemble as they overcome their shame about the subject of rape and incest and invite family, friends, teachers, and classmates to see the play, Remember Me Like This, during its seven weekend run.
Since 1997, APTP has created highly-skilled, artistic and transformative theater. And they do it with kids who never audition. APTP co-founder and artistic director David Feiner, who holds a masters degree from the Yale Graduate School of Drama, has a practiced method and he stays with the kids as they grow. The experience is truly artistic and transformational for the ensemble members.
TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives has been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Columbia Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Woods Fund of Chicago, Marin Arts Council, Leo S. Guthman Fund, Illinois Humanities Council, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Springcreek Foundation and Albank.
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