Last nite I went to see a really great show at the Barrow Street Theatre. It was called “No Child” and it is a one-woman show performed by Nialja Sun. It was such an amazing piece and I am so glad that I was able to see it before it closed.
The title refers to the “No Child Left Behind” act that has been in place for a few years that was aimed at improving the nations education system. The play follows the journey of a teaching artist and her experience in leading a drama class workshop to a high school class in the South Bronx. She introduces her students to the play ‘Our Country’s Good” and leads them all in a production of it for the school.
Thru out the play, Nadia impersonates several different characters: the janitor, the principal, various students, the teacher, and even the parents. Her physicality, facial expressions, and vocal range were amazing. She switched easily and quickly from one character to another. As she goes thru the six weeks with the class, the audience gets to experience along with her the his and lows of working with these students. We get a real look into the lives of these teachers and students, and what their lives are like on a day to day basis. We also got to see the positive and enriching effect that drama (and arts in general) can have on the kids.
As a former teaching artist myself, this play really resonated with me. I could relate to so many moments in the piece, like frustration with parents, the lack of support form school administrators, dealing with kids who think that “this stuff is mad boring yo”….. she also included humorous moments that most artists can relate to like struggling to pay the rent and going on auditions before and after work.
This was a really great show and I recommend that you go see it if you can. It closes this week, so hurry!!