Feedback and Impact

OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS’ RESPONSE

Repertory Company High School

Emma and Irene,

I am writing to thank you both for all your hard work and support of our students in the American Dream Project. It was a very ambitious undertaking and I am incredibly proud of how well they did. I feel like it became a remarkably timely and important piece of work, for both the students and the audience.

Irene’s contribution to the success of the piece cannot be overstated. She was invaluable in helping the kids to find creative and dynamic ways of bringing these stories to life. We were very lucky to have her.

Thank you both  (and thanks to Town Hall) for helping to make it happen

Rob McIntosh, Teacher of Theatre, Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts

Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst

The Angle Project’s “Memory Train” program had a great impact on the Marks JCH community. The project was exceptionally well designed, facilitated, and organized.

 The participants openly expressed their satisfaction with the workshops. One of them told me, “When I come for the theater club, during the two hours I forget about all my problems, about everything, and enjoy the acting,” and another stated, “I have never thought that I can participate in such a project, I am so happy!” Even our eldest participant (who is 84 years old) was so committed to her role, that she received compliments from our audience for her realistic acting!

 And our audiences thought the performance to be meaningful. Many seniors present in the audience came to me and asked to be signed up for future sessions. One senior, who did not participate but saw the performance, said, “Inna, why didn’t you invite me to the project, this is mine, this is what I love…”

 As the director of the NNORC program, I am convinced that this project is very important for the seniors and for our community. First of all, it brings our community together. Secondly, it makes people feel good about themselves. Thirdly, other seniors see the performance and feel that they can also participate in such a project without any embarrassment, without any worries about acting in front of other people. As a social worker I do believe that this project can help seniors improve their self-esteem, can help fight depression, be together with their peers, and open up to communication with others.

-Inna Zaslavskaya, Director of the “Good Neighbors” Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) Program, The Marks JCH of Bensonhurst

OUR PARTICIPANTS’ RESPONSE

What did you discover about yourself through our work together?
  • How lucky I am to have my life and how small I am
    • Syrian Refugee Workshop Participant
  • I can be lazy but once I get it together I can provide huge contribution
  • Characterization is essential in doing documentary theater
  • I discovered that even though I am a citizen I can be effected by what is going on
  • One thing I discovered was if I put my mind to something and I try I can actually achieve it
  • The immigration topic really grab[s] my attention. I really felt engaged in what I was acting
  • Experimenting with different props helps the development of the creative process for me
  • I realized that I was able to connect to people who were different from me
  • I realized I have a bigger capacity to be open minded
  • I like learning new things and like knowing what I learn
  • I’m one to learn more about people
  • I have to put my mind onto my work
    • American Dream Project Participants
What did you discover about others through our work together?
  • My peers’ effort reflected on my performance
  • People also have a lot in common
    • YouthBuild Identity Workshop Participants
  • I learned about my grandma’s Hispanic background and her personal individual struggles
  • I discovered was that the most immigrants don’t see America the same as they thought before they got here
  • Most immigrants left a lot behind to come to America. Like family, jobs, houses. This whole different world
  • I discovered that there is a greater degree than I thought of people not being wrong because they think differently
  • I’ve discovered that walking in someone else’s shoes is quite the trip
  • Everyone comes from some type of struggle
  • The struggles may not seem as much, but to the person experiencing it, it’s too much to bear with
  • Most immigrants experience similar feelings and opinions when they come here such as confusion, fear, and loneliness
    • American Dream Project Participants
What did you discover about the world through our work together?
  • How big it is and how strong love can be
    • Syrian Refugee Workshop Participant
  • There are many different interpretations of “the American Dream”
  • The world is full of people with dreams
  • You have to work hard to reach where you are in life
  • A lot of people are affected by Donald Trump’s words
  • Nothing is fair. Sometimes you can’t get what you want
  • The world treats people differently (negatively or positively)
  • Different backgrounds still result to equal the same reasoning
  •  I discovered the world would never work if everyone simply agreed with each other
    • American Dream Project Participants
What do you think you are going to do with your discoveries? How are they going to change the way you act/think/live?
  • Think before acting out. I can use this for everyday life
  • I am going to be more confident
    • YouthBuild Identity Workshop Participant
  • I am going to continue being open minded and not close people off based on their skin color or sexual orientation or religion
  • I look at people differently because I admire what they have been through. Especially my dad because if he didn’t come to the U.S then my family wouldn’t be the family I know today
  • My discoveries will allow me to get a better understanding of how my family lived as immigrants
  • I think the ways I can take everything & not really be so negative
  • My discoveries are going to change the way I think because I’m not going to feel alone in my situation or feel like the only one. Other have similar situations sometimes worst and I can have my head up high as a proud immigrant in America
  • I believe I’m going to think of the world as a whole and see life in the many perspectives it is observed through
  • With my discoveries I’m gonna study my character before even acting out a play or musical. Also, I’m gonna work with groups more. This is gonna change the way I think and live because I’m usually very independent and do things solo, but now I notice that having and asking people for help isn’t a bad thing
  • I realize everybody has their own struggles and situations that affect the way they live and I’m [aware] of that now
    • American Dream Project Participants
What would you like to say to our facilitators?
  • Thank you for seeing the good in bad. Thank you for never giving up! Even when some days we didn’t want to work on our piece, you always found a spark in us. You gave us new suggestions to keep us intrigued and engaged in the topic
  • Thank you for helping us, even though sometimes it was made very difficult for you
  • Thank you for working and taking time to help us with this project
  • Thank you for always being on top of my group and with our pictures ❤
  • Thank you Irene for helping us and guiding us to be better and making us look good on stage
    • American Dream Project Participants