Drugs, prostitution and violence are among the issues faced by the troubled teens of Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories, presented by University Theatre March 23-April 2. Inspired by Jim Goldberg’s photo essay on homeless youth, “Raised by Wolves,” Iizuka conducted a series of interviews with street kids to create a series of snapshot scenes of their dangerous worlds.
Tickets for Polaroid Stories are $10; admission for students and senior citizens with IDs is $8. Tickets may be purchased at the University Theatre box office. Located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building, the box office is open noon-5 p.m. weekdays. Tickets also can be purchased one hour before show time. Reservations can be made in advance by calling the box office at 542-2838.
In a haunting refiguring of Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories depicts the harsh realities of modern street life through the eyes of a lost generation. But to Mirla Criste, director and assistant professor of acting in the theatre and film studies department, the production is more than a statement about teen angst.
“The importance of Iizuka’s work is that it balances the ugliness of the lives of the kids with the beauty of the language,” says Criste. “The poetic script lays it out for the world to see, but it is compelling artistically as well.”
To complement the lyrical nature of the script, Criste directed her actors in part by using a movement form called Contact Improvisation, resulting in a stylized performance mode she terms “Contact Theatre.”
“Ultimately, the production is not just about the characters. It’s about working with the actors in a ‘new mode’ that is foreign to their typical rehearsal experience,” Criste says.
First presented at the 1997 Humana Festival by Actors Theatre of Louisville, Polaroid Stories earned Iizuka the 1998 PEN Center USA West Award for Drama. Polaroid Stories will run March 23-25 and March 29-April 1 at 8 p.m. and April 2 at 2:30 p.m. It will be performed in the Cellar Theatre on the lower level of the Fine Arts Building at the corner of Lumpkin and Baldwin streets.