Some Favorite Sites
Government/ Community Links
“Last Chance,” First Reading
by David Sepulveda | Sep 18, 2012 8:11 am
Posted to: Arts & Entertainment
On September 15, The Inner Theater Project in conjunction with Bregamos Community Theater presented “Last Chance,” a stage reading of a work-in-progress, written by young thespians under the guidance of Director-Choreographer Sharece M. Sellem, who is also the Drama Instructor for the Dramatic Dreamers Drama Club at Davis St. Interdistrict Arts & Academics Magnet School in New Haven.
Bregamos, now in its 12th year of providing and promoting quality community theater, operates out of a “spot that nobody wanted,” according to its founder, Rafael Ramos. The theater, located in building 8 on the back side of Fair Haven’s Erector Square Complex at 315 Peck Street, continues its remarkable work as resource and facility for theater groups, community events, activities, and programs.
With scripts in-hand, actors incorporated movement—spontaneous and choreographed—while reading their lines, infusing them with all the theatrical passion and pathos one might see in a polished production. A narrator off-stage, weaved the scenes together by adding technical footnotes, that in an actual play, would set the scenes and direct the action of the players. After the readings, director Sellem elicited questions and received thoughtful comments from the audience that will help shape the script, develop characters and refine the message going forward. Some expressed appreciation at having such a great arts-based facility in right in their community.
“Last Chance” was made possible through a collaboration with The Connection Inc. Preventative Services, an agency that is focused on prevention of a spectrum of drug use in New Haven, while building and sustaining “healthy and caring communities.” To that end, the organization partners with youth, faith-based organizations, schools, businesses, human service organizations, and in this case, community theater. Gerardo Gorskin of The Connection Inc., applied for the original grant funding for the project.
Drug abuse is central to the script under development in the Inner Theater Creative Arts Workshop production, but the story is also about overcoming long odds as the show’s program summarized: “This story reveals one teen’s life on the other side of substance abuse. A dealer, and a talented poet, he gives us insight into his tough balancing act. “Chance” is a young man with some serious decisions to make. Things seem to crumble all around him until he discovers his hidden talent.”
Indeed, the script’s protagonists are not unlike some of the play’s actors who have discovered their talents for acting, performing and writing only recently, and who have found a creative and therapeutic outlet in which to channel their energies. After the reading, actors shared personal stories of how they connected with the acting workshop. Jessica Felaro (“Uncle,” “Morrison” and “Sully”), a multi-talented sophomore at Magnolia Academy in Cromwell, Connecticut, said she came by the program quite by chance after finding a flyer announcing the program. Other actors included were Elvin Rivera, Suzette Briones, Jessica Williams, Ariana Vecarro and Kimberly Rivera, who read her impassioned,original poem “Dig Deep” at the program’s outset. Some of the original program participants did not stay with the program to this point in the project’s development, but Sellem noted that their voices are still reflected in the script they helped develop.
Theater Director, Rafael Ramos, who serves as New Haven’s Deputy Director of Code Enforcement for the Livable City Initiative when he is not volunteering his time doing theater-based community development, said they are hoping to get new funding for a second stage of the script’s development with the goal of ultimately bringing a full-fledged show to the stage. Ramos noted that with respect to the use of the facility, “No one is turned away.” While always short of funding and much-needed donations, Bregamos staff carry on, always mindful of theater’s namesake, “Bregamos”- from the Spanish verb “bregar” - to tweak, to work, to struggle.
Post a Comment
Once again, Westville provides opportunities for artists to stretch and grow. The community is not only treated to special productions but is invited to become a participant. When asked “where should we go next?” the community becomes instrumental in developing the direction and relevance of the story. I wish the production well and thank The Bregamos Community Theater for their hard work and dedication to the Arts. Good luck.
I meant to say, Once again, New Haven provides…. in Fair Haven not Westville.
Best wishes to the Inner Theater Project in attaining their goal of bringing this show, dealing with substance abuse prevention and the overcoming of its obstacles, to Bregamos’ stage as a full-fledged show. Obviously, this is a good cause to promote and theater is always a good means of promoting such a cause. Under the guidance of director-choreographer, Sharece Sellem, this is sure to be a well designed production. Again, wishing all much success.
This is a great outlet for kids. It’s these types of community programs that give teenagers a chance to develop their talents and express themselves in a safe, positive environment. Sellem, Ramos and all those who do this work should be celebrated. (And I love the name of the name of the theater!)
Bravo to Sharece, Rafael, and all the performers for fostering an environment of collaboration, inclusion, hard work (though Sharece makes it look easy!), and fun! When youth and young adults have the opportunity to stretch and express themselves, GREAT things can happen! Please, more positive stories like this. New Haven rocks!