By AMY Graduate, Shellie Love

 

 

The stage is their diary and that is just what I witnessed last Sunday as I saw the production of Derailed in its entirety. I was blown away by the issues touched upon and the realness of stories coming to life. Set in the tunnels and trains of the subway station. You ever read a book or watch a movie and the

whole time you feel as if you’re on a journey with the story teller. In their shoes, experiencing what they’re experiencing. Feeling what they’re feeling. Or maybe not. But powerful enough to strike a chord within you, provoking a thought, feeling or emotion? Well that’s exactly how I felt as I sat second to front row.A show about the societal pressures we face, identity, the war within ourselves, and the list goes on, this year’s ensemble partnered with community mentor artists, worked extensively through the summer to put together a play that is relevant yet timeless. Providing a platform for young people to share their stories not only provides an outlet but also a healing.

“It’s really amazing when you see young women come in and there’s a bit of resistance or a block or something they’re not ready to talk about but clearly want to talk about it.” Shares Megan Watson, this year’s director of The Amy Project. She continues, “Through [writing/improv] exercises and time together where we can just trust each other and the girls go from not being able to go there to being able to go there and go there with beauty love and openness.”

For Megan this experience came new to her. While she’s been directing for 10+ years this is the first time working with an all women cast. “Any group of powerful young women getting together means there’s gonna be a lot of opinions and cooks at the kitchen. Everybody has something to say and everyone wants to have their voice heard and I think that’s the amazing thing but it also makes it challenging.”

One scene that really stood out was the dialogue between a group of friends and a girl new to the country. Who’s goal is to fit in, kind and naïve she tries to converse with the girls but they laugh and make fun of her. Telling her that her outfit is wack and her hairstyle won’t get her hanging with the popular girls. As the play progresses two of the girls from the popular group begin to warm up to her, feeling torn between the ring leader and the new girl.

It takes hard work to be able to put nine voices, stories, and individuality on stage and manage to have it blend, creating a play that flows and there’s no doubt this year’s cast did just that. From a single mom on the brink of homelessness with a son who has a disability and just received news of a negative turn of events to love and heartbreak to homophobia, racism and culture, Derailed will make you laugh, gasp, tear up, and then some. A unique group dance piece performed to a mash up of some of the best songs from the young girls; don’t miss out on the chance to see this play.

“I really want the audience to see a show that’s full of beauty and entertaining and I want them to laugh but also want them to know that these girls are speaking from their truth and so I really want the audience to have the opportunity to meet the young women in the cast and hear their stories and leave sorta feeling inspired of what they’re capable of.” Megan says.

Derailed is one of those plays that are timeless. Ageless.

While watching it you are guaranteed to see something jump out to you where your reaction is “man I know what that feels like.’ And for those that may not it’s an opportunity to take a walk in the shoes of nine young women who go through trials and triumph. A beautiful struggle.

Only four shows left. Make sure to check it out!