The past week marked the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA. As a tribute to all who had to endure the tragedy, I wanted to post a performance from our youth theatre ensemble where we adapted an interview with a New Orleans Evacuee into a theatre piece.
For this interview, four of our teenage ensemble members went to a homeless shelter with a tape recorder and interviewed the residents staying there. We quickly realized that we could do a whole show about Austin’s homeless population, but one story that really stood out from all of our interviews was from Larry, who had come to Austin after he evacuated New Orleans after the hurricane.
Those four teenagers said that hearing stories from the homeless population had changed their perceptions and made them confront all the stereotypes and judgments they previously made. Larry was able to come to the performance at the Paramount. I went with several company members to invite him to the show, and his response was, “I never knew I was so important.” After the performance during the talkback, he said “Thank you for telling my story.” The process of staging these interviews represents what I love most about theatre: the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and understand their motivations and life experiences.