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Imagination Stage presents Oyeme! the beautiful for ESOL students

The cast of Oyeme! the beautiful with ESOL teacher Sharon Faber (right)

The cast of Oyeme! the beautiful with ESOL teacher Sharon Faber (right)

Cinthya Salas

Cinthya Salas

The cast of Oyeme! the beautiful with ESOL teacher Sharon Faber (right)

Cinthya Salas

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Actors from Imagination Stage presented ¡Óyeme! the beautiful on Thursday, April 19 at Watkins Mill High School, where unique personal stories of immigrant students who made their way to the United States through struggle and hardship were highlighted.

ESOL theatre and ESOL 3 teacher Sharon Faber applied and received a grant from the Montgomery County Education Foundation for ¡Óyeme! the beautiful partnered with Imagination Stage to come perform at Watkins Mill High School auditorium.

¡Óyeme! the beautiful was performed twice for ESOL students from levels one to five. The stories mirrored the journeys that many Watkins Mill students made when they traveled here from their home countries.

Before the play started, students were asked to think of ways they could relate to the characters’ experiences from the show.

All scenes had a quick story to represent what students endure getting from their home countries in Central America to the United States.

One big scene that was presented was of the four teenages riding La Bestia (The Beast), a train that travels north across Mexico, crowded with immigrants trying to reach the U.S border. The journey of Valentina involved physical injuries and rape.

“This scene represents one of the risks that women go through while trying to escape their home countries to come to the States,” actor Christian Camlio, who played Esteban from El Salvador, said

Many scenes had to do with school experiences for refugees and/or immigrants.

Controversial language was used like the word “chanchi,” which means dirty animal or pig,  to explain how these students might feel due to the treatment in school. The feelings and emotions were vivid, leading to many sympathetic facial expressions from the students watching the show.

“It’s a great experience and it something that really taps into [the students’] hearts, many of them can really relate with what they see on stage.” Faber said.

“It’s important to be representing this stories. This aren’t stories that people are familiar with so it’s really important to put them on stage,” post-show workshop leader Naomi Cohen said.

The relatable scenes brought many conversations at the end of the show. Students talked about their unique experiences and their thoughts on the show.

“It’s easier to talk about an experience that you might have had with your friends if you’ve already seen it represented,” tour coordinator Emily Veno added.

Cinthya Salas
The cast of Oyeme! the beautiful answers questions from students after the show

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