APT came to Wickenburg High School on two occasions while I was teaching there; a classroom workshop and again for a residency. They were both extraordinary events! It was great to get my acting students together with English classes and allow them to explore the texts. Truly phenomenal to witness the growth of my students from both experiences. They left an indelible impression on myself and the other teachers as well.
Your show was amazing and I would not have expected that from a one man show. The actor was especially amazing because I didn't think that he would be able to memorize a quarter of the book as he did. And it was amazing how bring the book to life and put suck emotion behind each character. I recently attended the Literature to Life performance with my school M.s.118 William Niles Pace academy, and it was a spectacular performance and we were wondering if you would consider doing the rest of the book as another performance, we would really appreciate if you could do that.
I was an artistic intern for the Literature to Life program of The American Place Theatre. Associate Artistic Director, Elise Thoron, actor Elvis Nolasco, co-artistic intern Katherine McGee, and I spent endless hours working together on the adaptation of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz, for stage. With an occasional meeting with Wynn Handman, the organization’s Artistic Director and Co-Founder, we completed the semester with an awe-inspiring adaptation of Wao for student viewing everywhere. Working meticulously with a novel that focused so much on the Dominican Republic (DR), “We come to understand the culture of fear and violence that has resulted from Trujillo’s 30+ years dictatorship of the Dominican Republic, and the importance of facing fear with love.” I knew that I had to see the country for myself.
Everyday when I arrived at the office, I encountered an inspired, enthusiastic staff. I was greeted with smiles and inquiry, and knew that everyone there was deeply committed to their goals of educational outreach, and providing an environment for creative discovery and the development of the future for our field. We were constantly asking new questions and broadening our perspectives (not only in this field, but also in life!).
The New York Public Library's Division of Teaching & Learning has partnered with American Place Theater, and plans to do so more in the future. The way they make classic works of literature relevant to students' lives, and the PD they provide to help teachers feel comfortable incorporating theater into their classroom instruction are invaluable.
I am a high school ELA teacher at the HS for Enterprise, Business, and Technology. Once of the courses I teach for seniors is a Drama-Based English class, so I set up a field trip to see Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Both works were converted into one man shows that are absolutely amazing!!! It is difficult for one person to carry an entire performance, but both the actor and director in each piece blew my students away with their talents. Not only that, the American Place Theatre provided a teacher’s guide to help prepare my students for the shows. Therefore, they were curious and excited to see how the events in the novel would translate onto the stage. Both tales take place in and around the tri-state area and are about a Hispanic male. As a result, it was easy for many of my students to relate to the stories from their books. For many of my students, this was also their first experience with seeing a live performance of a play, and I am thrilled to say that they now claim to love theatre as a result!
My husband and I attended “The Things They Carried” and we really enjoyed it. We felt it was a very interesting choice for a subject matter and the acting and production value was excellent. My husband is not a big theater buff, but he really loved this show. Afterwards, we actually purchased the book to read. I think the American Place Theater did a wonderful job and I really look forward to seeing more productions in the future.
I had the great fortune of being able to witness firsthand the wonderful work that American Place Theatre contributes to the theatrical community. After seeing a preview of a new piece, I was amazed at the response of the young people and their teachers... how engaged and invested they became in the literary work, due in large part to the theatrical presentation. With outstanding teaching artists at the helm, as well as intuitive playwrights, directors, and actors, American Place Theatre is a vital force in keeping literature and the theatre alive and well in New York and elsewhere.
The vision of Wynn Handman and the mission of the Literature to Life Program is unsurpassed. The program has offered a powerful effect on our community in the last four years. The exceptional standard of Literature to Life offers such believable workmanship that audience members are convinced they have encountered the actual people of these stories- not actors playing roles on a stage. Experieing such quality has not only opened to them the gift of literature, but has created a new appreciation and interest in another art form- theatre. Audience members that never enjoyed reading have been introduced to a new world through one voice, one story,one experience, one vision. I have witnessed students with limited interest in any subject
sit spell bound because of the gifts and commitment of this team. They have the abilitity of bring you into the work and encoutering the story in a gripping way.
The roster of books and stories vary significantly- but in each production the consistency is dependable, the experience is powerful and the effect is life changing.
Thank you for investing your lives in a program that truly makes a difference. The seeds you are planting do live far beyond the initial planting.
Our encounter with the first of these programs only created a craving for more. It is educational tool like no other. It brings enjoyment and value like no other. It has strength that opens worlds like no other.
May your vision find resource to fulfill it's greatest dreams. Truly you have brought change to our world for good
I love working with the American Place Theatre. The dedication that this company has to literacy and the arts is outstanding. The company truly works as a star ensemble cast. It is a pleasure to be able to work with such talented people.
The Literature to Life Program works! As a result of this curriculum-based theatrical performance, 80% of the kids end up voluntarily reading books! The result is nothing short of ASTOUNDING! Functional literacy is fundamental to our democratic process. Functional literacy is critical to personal success and vibrant communities. Literature to Life stands out among arts programs, literacy programs and works in schools that are marginalized and under-served...not just with "motivated" audiences. Please attend one of their performances and be inspired...you will come away more optimistic that you have found a real solution to challenges we face in public education. Alan A.
I was fortunate to be invited to an Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) showcase of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on 1/8/11 with my 19 year old sister-in-law and her friend. We all loved this professionally staged verbatim adaptation of this work. As a college instructor myself seeing it with college students, the superb actor and moderator brought to life this new story for us and sparked a great deal of reflection and discovery for all three of us after the show.
I was an Education Intern at The American Place Theatre in the fall of 2010, and I've said it before, but I felt like I really found an organization I could spend the rest of my life with. After graduating from college in May, I was worried that my theatrical interests would not be making enough of a positive change in the world. After looking half-heartedly for various internships in New York, I stumbled upon The American Place Theatre and instantly fell in love. To find an organization with such heart, and such a proven rate of success, was everything I needed to calm and reassure my frustrated career goals.
I was not disappointed. The American Place Theatre has proven time and time again how crucial the arts are to education, and I was lucky enough to see first-hand the effect its Literature to Life program had on students. After learning about the Literature to Life process in the office - reading novels, learning about the theatrical adaptation process, and seeing our actors rehearse - I was then inundated with positive student responses. I watched rowdy middle school classes suddenly quiet in awe of a performance. I interviewed students who were immediately inspired to read the book they had seen performed. And day after day I heard stories about students, parents, teachers, and community members from across the country who had been touched by the magic of Literature to Life.
What makes Literature to Life work is not only it's high standard of programs, but more importantly the unflagging energy and love of its company members. Every day I went to work, I was surrounded by positive energy that only grew with each new success story. Actors and teaching artists would stop in for long chats, hear about their colleagues work, and always keep each other buoyant with pride. There is no doubt that anyone who encounters this organization could walk away without being inspired to keep working towards promoting literacy and the arts. I certainly didn't.
The Literature to life program brings great works of literature to students and communities all over the country. The performances are stellar, the educators top notch. I have personally witnessed the effect this program has on those who have seen it. Do yourself a favor and bring this company to your community or school. You will not be disappointed.
The American Place Theatre has proved to be a source of continuing inspiration in my life. Since seeing my first production there, featuring one actor playing numerous roles in a one hour verbatim adaptation of "The Secret Life of Bees", I have been profoundly moved to be an advocate for this organization. The literacy rate in this country as well as the involvement of children in classic art forms has disintegrated because of electronic devices. Actual person-to-person communication, in a face-to-face format has become less popular. So for me to see children watching a theatrical performance, riveted by the story and then to find them anxious to read the entire book, gave me a great deal of hope for this generation.
Literature to Life is a unique program that transforms literature education into a live personal experience through a stage performance. The presentation is then supported by a teaching curriculum aided by trained teaching artists. It is adaptable to all ages of students and adults.
It is truly exceptional and should be brought into every public and provate schchool across the country. It is precisely the new approach to eductaion that this country needs.