Sensationalize the "Limits"

April 6, 2008, midnight | By Jon Kesten | 15 years, 11 months ago

"Disguise the Limits" brings authentic life experiences to the stage

A musical interpretation of prejudice, sexism, identity struggle and adolescent conflict can truly blend together in a raw, poignant batch of emotion, as the performers of "City at Peace" show. The problems that plague the teens in the show could not be any more different, yet somehow these teens are able to relate to one another on multiple levels. This adaptation of authenticity clearly plays out on the stage, as the group's performance "Disguise the Limits" shows the remarkable ability of youth to organize and cooperate.

Representing more than 30 schools and colleges in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. area, "City at Peace" is a non-profit performing-arts based program that seeks to break down barriers. The extremely diverse cast acts out a series of scenes derived from their own experiences that hit home for most teens. The show revolves around a group led by Ms. Cruz (junior Tanya Trimmer) called "Teens for Change" (a mirror "City at Peace" group), where youth from many different backgrounds come together in workshops and promote discussion on sensitive issues.

The stories, which range from adoption and abandonment to race and homophobia, are acted out precisely like a real situation, creating the intended illusion. Blair seniors Eric LaPrince and Gabriela Huffman play leaders of the "Teens for Change" group and are forced to remain as strong role models despite internal conflicts of dealing with harsh rumors, suicidal thoughts and struggles regarding conformity. LaPrince expresses himself during two solo guitar performances with lyrically creative and relevant songs.

Impeccable timing and dialogue augment the genuine plot lines of complex teen themes. "I love how everything is so relevant," junior participant Jessica Diaz-Hurtado says. In the performance, Diaz-Hurtado deals with her identity as a young Latina woman pressured to remain constricted to her heritage and avoid cross-cultural interactions.

City at Peace features a diverse cast and brings real life to the stage. Photo courtesy of Alex Lutz.

"Disguise the Limits," similar to previous years, regards no topic as off-limits. In many circumstances, one actor conveys another actor's story, forcing them into consequently difficult situations. "It was a little bit nerve wracking, because I didn't want to offend anyone," said Blair senior Elissa Fischel, who played a Caucasian mother.

Sandra Holloway, artistic director of City at Peace and director of "Disguise the Limits," emphasized the close relationship of the youth in the group. She also noted the hard work of City at Peace alum, all of whom were responsible for the components of the production such as lighting, costume and music. The contemporary music, filled with urban and hip-hop remnant tones by e'Marcus Harper, fit harmoniously with the lyrics and plot within the performance.

"Disguise the Limits" is a relevant, energetic show that will hit home with not only teens, but also family members. The actors in "City at Peace" have effectively shown how diversity is beautiful and elicits an eloquently unadulterated emotion of hope in our youth.

Auditions for City at Peace members for next year are on May 3, 10 or 31 at the City at Peace Studio on 1328 Florida Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20009. Call 202-319-2200 or visit the web site for more information. Students must be between 13 and 19 years old by September 2008 to be eligible to audition.

Jon Kesten. Jon likes rocking out frequently. So if he's not playing or listening to music, he is usually found in his natural habitat of the ice rink or pool. Jon is also Silver Chips. More »

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