Twenty-one Downers Grove South students will explore identity through the school's second annual black history presentation Friday.
Director Tiffany Rubin noticed that few African-American students at Downers Grove South were involved in the school's theater program.
So three years ago, the South English and Communications teacher decided to honor with a student production. Last year, the cast performed Langston Hughes' play, "Don't You Want to Be Free?"
Most of the cast was African American. None had been in a school play before.
That production is followed in 2012 with "Identity: An Exploration of Who We are Through Poetry."
The black history presentation is made up of a variety of pieces, from spoken word to blues to classic poetry to rap. Half of the pieces are entirely student-conceived and student-written, Rubin said. Again, most of the cast had never performed on stage before; some were recruited to audition.
A visit with her acting class to the poetry group "Louder than a Bomb" piqued the students' interest in spoken word poetry, Rubin said. So she encouraged students to present original pieces in the auditions for this year's black history presentation.
"The pieces were all really into identity," Rubin said. "I saw that this was really important to them."
The students will perform during two class periods Friday for DGS students and for the public at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.
Student directors for the play: Malorie Masek and Alisha Sandridge
Cast: Anthony Allen, Amber Carpenter, Caitlin Clemens, Cherhon Davis, Richard Effah-Appiah, Mikol Forney, David Ferguson, Miah Howard, Taylor Holley, Ciara Holloway, Jada Jackson, Kamille Leak, Antwon Lee, Malorie Masek, Alexis Meadows, Sarah Nicols, Eric Nyantaki, Amy Pniweski, Aryss Richardson, Alisha Sandridge and Kayla Smith