Jake Arky is the co-founder of So Say We All. At the time that this article was published, he is completing a playwriting residency with TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley. The Young Playwrights Project involves writing new, original works for the stage and teaching performance/writing classes in local high schools.
Sometimes you just have to throw out the curriculum, stop talking, and listen. I was going to have the East Palo Alto students go through the latest draft of their play, but we got to talking. As they would say, “we got to talkin’ ’bout some deep shit.” Questions were posed…
- Where do you want to go to college?
- What do you want to study?
- Where are you going to end up in life?
- What is your theme song?
- What do you like about your school in East Palo Alto?
- What do you dislike about your school in East Palo Alto?
- Who is staying in California?
- Who is leaving and never looking back?
- What makes people the way the are: nature vs. nurture?
- What advice would you give your kids when they are your age now?
One student has been really adamant about the play we are writing be centered around the concept that changing the world — changing the world of EPA — comes from changing oneself. So the last question came down to this: what are you going to do that will change the world?