Responses to Dream Acts from students at Queens College

Hello Dreamers, it’s Nicole! It has been a while since I posted something on our discussion page. The team’s recuperating from our successful run of Dream Acts, which I hope you all had a chance to see. If not here are some responses to the show from a group of students at Queens College. Keep checking our website for updates and events about the DREAM Act or Dream Act Union. I’m working on a post about my experiences with the Dream Act Union so keep a look out for that post!

 [Blog for Intro to Creative Writing 210W – Bernofsky] Comment: “Responses to Dream Acts”

 
Author : lchan107


Comment:

The Dream Acts play was very unique experience for me. I am always very use to the extravagant or odd costumes, and very elaborate backgrounds. But, for the Dream Acts play, there were no real backgrounds, or huge costumes. It was all left for us to imagine and, I feel, for us to focus on the matter at hand [which were the issues of being undocumented individuals]. The actors and actresses plays many roles [probably five characters to a performer], but yet each role was done so well where we were able to tell which character was out on stage. I found that very remarkable and impressive, I felt that I saw legit professionals out there or can see what a true professional can do.
The thing that struck me the most was the depiction of an active forum on the internet. All of the performers were moving nonstop in a square/grid-like pattern .I felt that kind of movement was to represent the computer world, since it does work on a grid, While the performers non-stop moving represented how a person moves though the forums/internet—non-stop. Each performer would stop to talk, but only right after one finishes talking, which depicted how one would stop at a forum topic, to type up a message and post, and how others would stop to respond to it. That I found was very well done, and quite ingenious.  I don’t think I would ever get over that was of depicting a conversation on the internet forums.
The way [right at the end] when a few of the undocumented individuals went out to protest and defend for their rights and the Dream Acts was so powerful. I actually got shivers from that one particular scene. Probably, because that scene was just amazing; to have the idea of many individuals to fight for something that is so important and so wonderful to them. It really gave out the sense of hope and strength to band as one whole group, instead of just hiding in fear, all by themselves.  The way the performers even portrays it was just so moving and felt very real, as if you were there. This I felt was the main message, to be able to fight for something that will be a positive life changing moment, such as the Dream Acts.
It was really cool how every character shown was linked to many characters. In a way to show that we are all connected and close by, even if we are unaware of it. It just seems to give the message that we aren’t alone. As well as that many have the same problems of being undocumented, and are virtually trapped by laws and society. It does bring out the awareness that many undocumented individuals are suffering, and trying so hard to find a way out.
Overall, it was just an amazing experience. The way the stories were told and connected was amazing. It was great to know how much research was put into this, to make these stories very real and believable. The actors and actresses made it all the more powerful with their talents. The messages given out in this play was just so very important and meaningful.  Everything about the play was fantastic and enjoyable. As well as being very informative, and a way to start a huge change and awareness for others who didn’t know what issues undocumented individuals are facing, and how these Dream Acts will help them out and make the country a better place for all.
 
Author : izabela88


Comment:

I’ve decided to see this play because of two reasons, first is that the theme of the play is really interesting because of my personal experience. I met a lot of young people who are struggling in the US due to the fact that they are undocumented. I am an immigrant and I am familiar with the bureaucracy and the limited options to get a “green card” to become a legal resident. Second reason why I wanted to see the performance was the opportunity to attend the discussion before the play. I was able to get a lot of information not maybe specifically about the play, but about the organizations who are helping undocumented youth and are fighting for the legislation of Dream Act.  I support the idea that the theater as a medium that can change the views, opinions and make difference in the society. For those who don’t know what is Dream Act the play gives a chance to understand the whole movement of “Dreamers” and the idea behind it. It definitely breaks the stereotypes about undocumented people in the US.
I love the fact that the play was not performed on a huge scene with a lot of decorations. Simplicity made it special. The only thing I concentrated on was the message of the play. I was able to hear the voices of people who were an inspiration for this performance. The forum/chat on the stage when the actors were walking all together, showed many voices of the undocumented immigrants. Later in the play the audience could hear also the views of other people who were against the “Dream Act”. Different views gave the audience broad perspective of this problem. Each story presented the struggle of undocumented people in their everyday life. The story of a boy from Turkey, who wasn’t able to get the driver license, really moved me. For many people driver license is such a trivial thing in life, like eating and sleeping. To him driving illegally was a sentence even to deportation. All characters were living under the radar and fear that they can get arrested. How many of us could life under such pressure and stress? They all were brought to US by their parents, without the right to choose where they want to live. Raised in the US they were connected with American culture and this was their home. I like the fact the they call themselves “dreamers”, the name was ironic but also full of hope. In case of the girl from Nigeria, “America” was a salvation and that was strongly expressed in the lyrics of the song which she emotionally sang at the beginning of the play: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine”. Unfortunately there was no “sunshine” for her without the legal papers, no chance for well-paid job, health insurance and so on. The theme of the play is political but few scenes had some humorous elements. I think the play was entertaining and can be interesting for those who are not into politics.  Even though the play mostly focused on the negative aspects of being undocumented, in the end of there is a hope. The characters explain possibilities and briefly explain the rules of the Dream Act.Overall that was a wonderful experience and I’ll definitely recommend the play to those who are and who are not familiar with the idea of “Dream Act”.

Author: valerieparris

Comment:

“Dream Acts” is a play written by Chiori Miyagawa, Mia Chung, Jessica Litwak, Saviana Stanescu, and Andrea Thome was not at all what I expected it to be. From the size of the theater and the stage I was wondering just what kind of performance this was going to be. The message that the play was trying to send of was a powerful one but also a controversial one at the same time. I have to admit I was torn on how I felt about the subject. On one hand I can sympathize with the characters because each of them just wanted a chance to live the American dream. They all wanted a chance to educate themselves and to be successful. Also on the other hand a question came to my mind is it really fair that they are trying to fight for something they are not technically entitled to because they came here illegally whether they were even aware of it or not. It is hard for me to pick a side on this because in my experience applying for financial aid I could not get it and I was given a hard time trying to get it and I am a natural born U.S citizen. While foreign born people can obtain fake and false identification and get the aid needed to attend school. I know that through no fault of their own they are in this position and they do struggle so in a way I can sympathize because at the end of the day we all struggle to obtain the same things in a way . What was interesting was that a few of the characters kept referring to themselves as “undocumented children living under the radar” because they were afraid to come out to the public about who they really were and where they came from in fear of ruining everything that their families have worked so hard to build and become. This production opened up my eyes to a few things that I never knew about. Like for example terms such as “The child special immigrant status”, “conditional permanent residency”, and “unrestricted lawful residence”. I had never heard of these before and it was interesting that these referred to steps undocumented children had to take to become legal. Another thing that stuck out to me is the way each person could mimic different accents, that was what made the play to me. The performers did a really good job of taking the audience to that exact place where each kid was at a particular time. It was also interesting how each story had a part in the other; each character knew each other or came in contact with each other at some point in the play. The profanity used was a bit much but I think it added to the intensity of each scene as it was being played out.

Author: mmckiernan8891

Comment:

In the play “Dream Acts” about undocumented youths a very different point of view is shown. Although it is a fictitious play the story and acting are so compelling that it really does bring the issue of undocumented youths to the audiences attention and tapped into our emotions. Every story represented a young adult of different ethnicity and showed their struggles, fears, and adversities in which they must overcome everyday while just trying to fit into the country they grew up in. I found it very shocking, something in both the panel discussion and play how many young adults are born into a life in which they aren’t even aware they’re undocumented and the detrimental effect it has. It made me think growing up any of us could have been in their shoes thinking everything was fine living a normal life only to be blindsided by that. Although overtly political the play still had its very funny bits and definitely made youthful jokes that were very contemporary with the times. I also found it very helpful to pleading the plays message by presenting both sides of the argument and responses that highlighted the dream act. Overall i think a few things may have been brushed over in the play but overall the writing was witty and sharp and the actors were all great presenting diverse and emotional performances. I felt this play really brought an issue i knew very little about to my attention, and while i think there is more to the story then what was talked about in the play the message was very clear, concise and positive.

Author: karlaps

Comment:

I really, really enjoyed the entire Dream Acts talk-back and play. Hearing the talk-back before seeing the play was a little bit confusing because I thought that it was going to be about the play, but really it had very little to do with the actual writing of it. Still, the stories of the people on the panel and the background of the Dream Acts were important for understanding that the stories in the play weren’t just about individuals. In that sense, I got a lot more out of the talk-backs than if I had just seen the play by itself.
The play had a fantastic balance of comedy and seriousness. It must have been really difficult for the actors to switch so quickly between characters of completely opposing viewpoints (the social worker to the old lady in the store to the Korean girl, or the jail guard to the Middle Eastern guy to the store owner – every single actor had 3 characters, I think). I liked the set-up of the pinging chat forum in the beginning, middle, and end that separated the stages of each character’s story. Overall, I think it was a really excellent play. It really showed how the failure of the Dream Acts to pass through the Senate had a huge blow on a lot of people from all over. Again, I think the talk-back seriously helped me get the message.
After the event, my friend’s dad drove us home, and we had a very interesting conversation about Korean immigrants versus Chinese versus Japanese, etc. I like this social theatre genre. I will be sure to look into it more.

 

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About nicole

Nicole is the research assistant for the Dream Act Union. A resident of Hawai’i, Nicole is studying social entrepreneurship and performance studies at New York University. Her involvement with theater started at the age of 14 performing in community and school shows. She developed an interest in political and activist theater while performing in iChoose; an empowerment program by the International Committee of Artists for Peace. Nicole has worked at Diamond Head Theatre and Kristian Lei’s Honolulu Broadway Babies; a benefit concert supporting programs for developmentally challenged individuals in Hawai’i.