Get Ready To SMILE for IAMA Theatre
We are so excited to be back promoting another show with our arts partner, IAMA Theatre! SMILE premiered on November 10th. This show explores the story of a 17 year old girl from Northeast Philadelphia. When an “incident” follows pursuit at her affluent school landing her in the guidance counselor’s office, the two find themselves forming an unlikely yet complicated relationship. The main character is also learning how to navigate a world defined by her race, gender, and class. We wanted to learn more about their upcoming production so we asked Stefanie Black, IAMA’s Artistic Director, for more insight.
Why did your team decide to showcase SMILE and how did it come about when choosing which productions to perform?
SMILE was originally developed in 2018 in IAMA's New Works Festival. Melissa Jane Osborne, the playwright, is an ensemble member and submitted the piece. We have been developing it with her and director, Michelle Bossy since 2018. It was originally programmed to premiere in the fall of 2020, but due to the Pandemic, it had been postponed till now. We were and still are so excited about sharing this very relevant and timely piece of theater. It's a story with many perspectives and touches on the very potent themes of grief, trauma, and connection.
What message do you or your team want for teens to obtain from seeing this production?
We want to create more dialogue around feeling seen and heard as a young person. This play examines the many ways that teenagers do not have agency over their own experience, their bodies, their choices; how they rely on adults for safety and care, and how their feelings and perspective is so important. That their voices matter.
What’s something you or your team have learned while participating in this production and are there any lasting impressions you might have?
We have learned that centering the experiences of others around us is the best path to true collaboration and trust. In an environment where you are developing a new play, it's so important for everyone to feel they have a voice in the process and are a vital part of telling this story.
If you could explain this production in one word, what would it be and why?
Why do you think this production deserves to be seen by audiences?
There is a lot to be learned from the past. Not just our own, but our society's. It's so important to be able to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see where we have grown and where we still have work to do. This play helps us look at how not much has changed since 1992 and that we, as a society, still have much to do when it comes to uplifting women and their freedoms.
We would like to thank all of the members in IAMA Theatre, including Melissa Jane Osborne, Michelle Bossy, and Stefanie Black for all of their hard work to piece together this production after a long hiatus. This story serves as a touching reminder reflecting on our own society and how much change there is still needed to have.
Check out our events calendar for more details on this interesting and complex production. Teens – take advantage of this deal while you can! In addition, TeenTix LA is having a TeenTix Night with IAMA Theatre on Sunday, November 20th. Don’t miss an opportunity to sign up for lots of fun, food, and a post-show talkback!