Epoch Arts presents student-written ‘Bridges’
By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
East Hampton - posted Thu., Dec. 19, 2013
There is a little bit of Broadway in East Hampton at the Epoch Arts Center. After the Saturday night show of Dec. 14 was cancelled due to snow, an impromptu matinee of “Bridges” was packed on Sunday, Dec. 15.
Director Elizabeth Namen told the audience that due to the overwhelming response, winter matinees would be scheduled for future shows.
The story of the one-act play written and performed by local teens focused on comparisons: rich and poor, lost and chosen, those who went to sleep without food and those who ate plentifully. There were misconceptions about who was rich and who was not; whether the poor could ever trust or befriend the rich, and vice versa. The play was about dislocation due to war, and it was about finding friendship despite differences.
Joey Fago stole the show with his soulful depiction of a homeless Pakistani boy named Amir, who finally found a family. The cast included Reanna Holmes as Teagan, Mitchell Brown as Sora, Hannah Myjak as Gename, Caryssa Propfe as Caharaqa, Mickey Myjak as Lei, Megan Crotty as Mail Ling, Ally Brogan as Farah, Maddy Wooding as Miki, Taylor Magri as Miyu, Alexis McGuigan as Tuwa and Ben Wooding as Dichali.
The students lent an authenticity to the emotions of seeking love, affection and inclusion as they see the same issues every day among peers and friends in school and out. “Love for children is what keeps us all going. If we lose our will to work, we will lose our will to live,” said one of the Ethiopian characters.
Namen pointed out how even discussing and planning the production was very poignant, as bullying and disenfranchisement is part of many students’ lives today. In addition to offering acting lesson, the Epoch Arts Center has many thought-provoking programs that address real teen issues.
Ben Martin, who teaches impromptu acting at the center, was serving authentic ethnic snacks with Amber Congdon at “The Café,” an after-show venue where actors and audience gathered to talk about the performance. Students also created “The Market,” which featured crafts and small gifts relating to the different cultures included in “Bridges” from Japan, Ireland, Ethiopia and Pakistan.