LOS ANGELES -- L.A. Theatre Works' Arts & Children Project and the Valley Youth Community Arts Project have joined forces to present The Tolerance Project, a two-play look at the violence, chaos and destruction -- as well as the hope for redemption -- experienced by at risk young people in Los Angeles.
The Shattered Mirror, a world premiere that bestows a contemporary perspective on the diaries of Anne Frank, and The House That Crack Built, a multimedia stage adaptation of Clark Tyler's children's book about the spiraling nature of drug abuse, will be performed by at-risk and probationary youth from juvenile court schools together with professional actors.
Working in tandem with professional designers, the kids also design and build the sets and costumes, crew backstage, and usher.
Tickets are free to the public. Performances take place at Madrid Theatre June 17-27.
Commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works' Arts & Children Project, writer director Jose Guillermo Garcia's The Shattered Mirror is the story of Katerina, known as "Kitty," a suicidal young girl who reads "Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl." Visited by the ghost of Frank, Katerina discovers that she is a modern-day reincarnation of Frank's imaginary pen pal Kitty. She writes a letter expressing her isolation, pain and rage and posts it over the Internet, with surprising results. "I was asked to write a play about tolerance," said Garcia. "I found myself inspired by Frank, and wanted to bring her story into a contemporary framework that kids of all backgrounds could relate to."
The House That Crack Built was adapted for the stage by VYCAP producing director Lauren Shpall together with the juvenile court and community school students who perform in it.
The Tolerance Project kicks off a year of tolerance activities offered throughout L.A. county by L.A. Theatre Works' Arts & Children Project, which is the most established, comprehensive and acclaimed arts program teaching incarcerated and at-risk youth in southern California.
The Madrid Theatre is located at 21622 Sherman Way in Canoga Park. Call (818) 347-9938.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent