MCC Theater Youth Company: Seed of Story

MCC Youth Company, Christopher Abreu

"You're going to be a doctor" I was told growing up. I heard it so many times that I believed it was truly what I wanted for my life. I even enrolled in a High School that catered to health related careers. But deep down I knew better, there was something else calling to me, something more personal, more liberating, and certainly more me. I could not tell you what it was called back then, but I thought that I wanted to be a famous film director / actor. Now in nearly my 30th year is that I can finally put a name to what I want to do with my life: Storytelling.

I want to tell stories; through movies, through books, plays, art, dance, pictures, experiences, hugs, heck even kisses. I just want to tell the world the things that have happened in life, and the things that have transpired only in my head. More importantly I want others to tell their stories too. I want to hear them, learn from them, grow from them. I want everyone to feel free to just speak, in whatever form their voice takes shape, loud and clear.

In my  senior year of H.S I got the courage to tell my guidance counselor that they were wasting their time with me. The courage to tell my mom that I was going to live my life for myself, dealing with her embarrassing waterworks at my school in the process. The courage to say I was going to pursue a career in film. In a first generation immigrant family, that is not something that would be accepted lightly. My mom was very clear "Go, but don't except a dime from me while you do it" and so I left for college (praise the Lord) and got a BA (and MA) in Producing Film and Television. The experience was hard and tiring and, true to her word, without financial support. But I am confident that I made the right decision, because it all led me to where I am today, and today my family is proud of me. I am proud of me.

I'm rambling. The point I want to make is this: there was a turning point where I decided I wasn't going to be shy about my dreams anymore, and that moment came from my experience with the MCC Theater Youth Company. 

Manhattan Class Company (MCC) Theater is a non-profit theatre in NYC that prides itself on challenging its artists and audiences as only great theater can. They have an excellent educational outreach program, which the Youth Company (YC) is part of. While I was a member of the YC I acted and wrote for two plays that were put on in the spring and summer of that year. Through their mentorship I also interned at the prestigious Bernard Telsey Casting (now known as Telsey + Co.) and auditioned for commercials and films. I even got my first experience on a set for an Anti-Drug USA commercial. But it would all have been for nothing if I didn't learn something from it. Can you put a premium on public speaking, teamwork, fostering your creativity? What about courage? Courage? No, you really can't. 

MCC gave me the foundation to pursue the life that I've had, the life that I am leading, and for that I am and will forever be grateful.

I bring this up now because the MCC YC will be holding auditions for this years student actors / writers and I want any teen who is interested in the arts to give it a spin. Parents, teachers, mentors, speak to the budding adults in your life and recommend the YC as a great after school option. Like I mentioned above, they'll gain life skills that will serve them well in whatever they end up doing with their lives, whether that involves the arts or not.

I should be clear about one thing, life in film / TV / theater is hard. There are days that you go hungry, there are days where you won't have a bed. It is not for everyone, but for some it is the only way to live. Regardless of your future plans, the MCC YC is a great place to start. They are dedicated to fostering great young minds through their programs and leadership. During my tenure in the YC we were taught by the great Director Stephen DiMenna and Director of Education Katie Miller (now Education Director for Theatre for a New Audience). Artistic Directors Bernard Telsey and William Cantler played a behinds the scene role in the direction of the programs. Just to show you how much these folks care, I ran into Bernard Telsey (whom I had little contact with during my membership) in the street with his family several years after I left MCC, not only did he recognize me - he called me by name. I tip my hat to that.

YOUTH COMPANY 2014/15 AUDITIONS
Tue, Sep 30 & Thu, Oct 2 4:30-6:30PM
At Cap 21 Studios, 5th Floor
18 West 18th Street (btwn 5th/6th Ave)

From their website:
“The MCC Theater Youth Company is a free, after-school program for New York City high school students interested in developing their acting and dramatic writing skills. Within a creative, challenging, and supportive environment, teenagers from [the] five boroughs participate in weekly workshops (Labs) led by professional theater artists. Our students are encouraged to discover and explore their unique artistic voices as they work together to create and perform original work. Authenticity, originality, energy, honesty, enthusiasm... all of their experiences are essential to the process. Through collaboration, YC members form a supportive ensemble of young artists in an inspiring environment where they are free to experiment, make bold choices, and take risks.”
Guidelines
  • YC members are between the ages of 14-19 and live in New York City (the 5 boroughs).
  • YC members are currently enrolled public high school students when they join the company.
  • YC members have a strong interest in participating in the dramatic arts.
  • YC members are open-minded and willing to take risks.
  • YC members are committed to consistent attendance at workshops and rehearsals.
  • YC members are accepted into the company based on effort, not previous theater experience.
More info on the MCC YC website.
MCC Theater Youth Company: Seed of Story MCC Theater Youth Company: Seed of Story Reviewed by Unknown on 11:15 Rating: 5

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