GREENBURGH, N.Y. – A group of Greenburgh students is spending the early weeks of summer vacation in Woodlands High School's Little Theatre, prepping for their summer showcase.
On Thursday, the students will present their debut performance of "Lydia," a story of a Mexican immigrant family reeling from a car accident that leaves their daughter severely brain damaged.
“It’s a story full of metaphors, poetry and images,” director Nicco Annan said. “The family unravels around its secrets and dysfunction.”
The show is part of a series of performances given by Woodland's Reader’s Theatre, a prep program for the high school’s aspiring theater performers. Annan said the program gives students an in-depth look at performing, with lessons on the finer points of show business.
“It has become a place for students who want to be directors or actors or producers,” he said. “They come together and see all the different aspects of it.”
“Lydia,” a 2008 play written by Octavio Solis, has been performed across the country. It takes place in the 1970s, in the El Paso, Texas living room of a family of poor Mexican immigrants. The story focuses on 17-year-old Ceci, who was badly brain damaged two years earlier in a car accident the night before her quinceanera, the celebration of her 15th birthday. The audience learns details of the accident and sees how the family deals with their dark secrets and personal struggles as they handle the situation.
Annan said many of the performances given by the Reader’s Theatre attempt to raise social awareness about issues that dominate the headlines. Students chose “Lydia” after hearing news reports of recent immigration issues, he said.
“I find that because they are artists and growing, they have a lot to say,” said Annan. “They want to share it with friends, the community and the school.”
The students all hope to pursue theatre beyond Woodlands, said Annan, who added that these types of performances provide valuable experience for them.
“It’s a passion,” student Stephen Doyle III said. “It’s something I want to do with my life. This is like a ladder, and it’s providing the foundation for something I want to do later in life.”
Jackson Davis agreed. “It’s helping us become more well-rounded,” he said.
Annan, who also works as a director and choreographer in Manhattan, said he's seen plenty of acting potential in the Woodlands High School students.
“There is a lot of talent in Greenburgh,” he said. “A lot of raw talent.”
“Lydia” will be performed Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Woodlands High School Little Theatre. Admission is free.