One day an Asian, an African, an angel, a South American, and an extraterrestrial said the same prayer to God. " I'm tired of seeing the same things every day." "The same rice, the same giraffes, the same Eden, the same Amazon, the same Halle Bop." "Please send me somewhere different!" So God took each one gently up in his hands and told them, "Close your eyes and we'll play a game called where am I now?" So He spun them around, and spun the earth a little faster and placed them gently back on land. " Open your eyes, and tell me if this is different enough."
Join me on a brief journey through the eyes of these strangers.
Somewhere on earth, all five characters land close by one another, open their eyes, and begin to converse about the differences in each other and all the people passing by.
African: " That person is different from me because his eyes are slanted."
Angel: " That person is different from me because she's having a Batmitzva."
South American: "That person is different from me because her skin is darker than mine"
African: " That person is different from me because his skin is lighter than mine."
Alien: " Well that person is the same as me because he's got four legs, a looong neck, and short antennae on his head."
African: "That's not a person, It's a giraffe!"
God: "Every single person is different from every single person. Similar sometimes, different definitely."
All: " We must be in America!"
This simple scene tells of the journey of how five people/ beings arrived in America. It is clear why they came; they were all seeking change. It is clear how they got there. God simply dropped them there.
What about us? In order to understand who we are today better, we must delve into the roots of our heritage. How did we come to be American? The answer to this question will be the basis of the curriculum unit New Beginnings. This unit will integrate the art of drama with the immigration process. Very often you can't fully understand what would prompt another person to such a life altering decision as to leave their homeland unless you've experienced the details of the situation first hand.
Freshman drama students will utilize this unit. As these students embark on their high school career, they may find a common ground between themselves entering a new atmosphere, and the characters they will create who will make their way throughout the course to a new land called America. Through the exploration of character work, basic acting skills, and essay writing, the students will create a character from somewhere other than America. By exploring the specific details, either factually, or imaginatively, of their characters' daily life in their homeland, combined with the immigration procedures within a given time frame, the students will recognize the obstacles, advantages, and many possible reasons for becoming an American citizen.
In the short piece I have written in the opening of this unit I chose to include an alien, and an angel. My thought being, never say never. Everything is possible. One or two students might entertain a similar philosophy, and limiting them to the obvious may only hinder their creativity. The objective is to show the students that as Americans we all originate elsewhere, and by ultimately putting them in someone else's shoes, they may gain a greater acceptance toward others who are so called "different" from them.