Jesuit High School Sacramento Producing Play About Refugees
Tags: Jesuit, Jesuit Refugee, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, jesuits, Sacramento
Students at Jesuit High School of Sacramento have written and will perform a play, Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home, highlighting the real life experiences of refugees and the forcibly displaced based on Jesuit Refugee Service’s 30 years of accompaniment, service and advocacy on behalf of refugees. The play will premier November 3 at the school’s Black Box Theater.
After learning of JHS Sacramento Drama Department’s exemplary history of providing students the opportunity to grapple with sensitive and controversial issues through documentary theater, JRS/USA contacted Ed Trafton, the Head of JHS’s Drama Department, and pitched the idea of commissioning Jesuit Drama students to use true accounts compiled by JRS/USA from years of assisting and supporting uprooted people to write a script and produce a play.
JRS/USA hopes the play will allow audiences to “stand in the shoes” of forcibly displaced people and refugees to gain a deeper understanding of what life is like for them.
“We are so excited to be working with the faculty and students of Jesuit High’s Drama Program to raise awareness about the lives, challenges, and contributions of the refugees JRS has worked with for the past 30 years,” said Shaina Aber, Associate Advocacy Director for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
“They have taken this project and created a piece that will be very moving, we are tremendously grateful to the students and faculty for their extraordinary work,” she added.
In the long term, JRS/USA hopes the play will become a piece that high school, college students and even parishioners will use to raise awareness about the challenges that face refugees and the displaced — and funding to support JRS programs — by performing staged readings or producing a fully staged production of the play.
Since the early 1990’s, Jesuit Drama has presented several pieces of documentary theater, including Premeditated Meditations (2008), a performance-art collaboration with artist, activist, and death penalty opponent Malaquias Montoya for Jesuit’s inaugural Social Justice Forum; Achilles in America (2008), a company-created performance-piece about American soldiers dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from their service in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts; and, most recently, Tower Stories: A 9/11 Project (2010), a meditation on faith and doubt at Ground Zero.
“Ultimately, we hope the production of Imago Dei: Journeys of Courage, Hope & Home on campuses around the country will inspire lifelong advocates for refugees and the world’s displaced, and supporters and advocates for the work of JRS/USA,” said Aber.
The students will perform seven shows over two weeks. On November 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12 all shows are at 7:30 p.m. There is a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 13.
The Black Box Theater is located in the Harris Center, opposite the gym on the JHS campus at 900 Gordon Lane. Visit the school website for more information.