Apollinaire Play Lab’s young actors made a splash in the summer of 2018 with their performances of a Midsummer Night’s Dream in Chelsea Square. This December, Chelsea’s promising young thespians will present Lisa Loomer’s timely piece, ¡Bocón!.
Filled with humor and mysticism, the story follows a twelve-year-old fleeing a repressive military regime in Central America for Los Angeles. A natural storyteller and bocón, or “big-mouth,” our young hero loses their voice when their parents are taken. Along their metaphorical journey north to the City of Angels, they form a magical friendship with La Llorona, the “Weeping Woman” of Mexican and Central American mythology. La Llorona helps the child find their voice and the courage to cross the border to a new life.
Apollinaire’s own professional company tackled this piece back in 2014 at Chelsea’s Mary O’Malley Park. Now the mantle is being passed to their youth program.
Anna Hadingham, Apollinaire Play Lab’s acting teacher, directs. Previous to coming to Boston, Ms. Hadingham spent ten years working on theater and community-arts based projects with teens in an urban community on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Since her return to The U.S., Ms. Hadingham has also taught theatre at public schools around Boston, and at the Margarita Muñiz Academy, a collaboration with Company One Theater.
Ms. Hadingham shares, “¡Bocón! has been an eye-opening experience for this group of young actors from Chelsea; they have dedicated many hours of hard work to the creation of an authentic, funny and deeply moving piece of theater. Participating in this production has not only helped them build a sense of community with one another, but also has raised their awareness of the historical context of migration from Central America, and has fostered in them a sense of solidarity with the current situation of migrants and refugees coming to the U.S. border today.”
Thanks to grants from the Chelsea Community Fund and Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation, the Play Lab was able to again hold a Play Production class culminating in a full-scale youth production.
The Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation has supported Apollinaire’s youth program since 2017 following the opening of the Riseman Family Theatre. Meg Ramsey shares: “The Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation is very happy to be able to be one of the supporters of this production. It is so important that young people have the opportunity to learn about and participate in arts experiences such as those provided by the Apollinaire Play Lab. Preparing a show teaches teamwork, empathy, confidence and poise in addition to being a lot of fun. Best wishes to the cast and crew.”
Tickets to the show are just $5!
Dates and times: December 13 and 14 at 6 p.m., December 15 at 2 p.m.
Location: Riseman Family Theatre in the Chelsea Theatre Works, 187 Winnisimmet Street in Chelsea Square.