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FULLERTON : Message of Staged Lesson: Friends Must Act the Part

October 18, 1994|MIMI KO

Ki Hyun Kim watched intently as a group of actors from South Coast Repertory delivered a lesson in responsibility Monday.

The 13-year-old Parks Junior High School student said the performance was unlike "unrealistic TV shows like 'Beverly Hills 90210.' "

"When your friend's going through a serious family problem, you don't have to have an answer for them," Kim said. "You just have to be there for them."

That was the point of the 25-minute play, "Make the Break" by Jervey Tervalon, in which Garvey (Phil LaMarr) is so self-absorbed that he ignores the needs of his friend, whose sister is dying in a hospital. Garvey realizes he needs to listen to his grieving friend and support him.

The performance was part of South Coast Repertory's four-week tour of Orange and Los Angeles county schools. Repertory spokesman Cristofer Gross said the tour has two purposes: bringing live theater to schools and teaching a lesson in "growing up."

For the students of Parks Junior High, the play was part of a 10-week program meant to teach eighth-graders how to resolve problems, break apart stereotypes, analyze hate crimes and communicate.

"I think the students got the message about listening and how not to be so self-centered," said history teacher Irene Strauss. "We'll be discussing the play in class and how it relates to them in school and in the community."

Ann Denning, 13, said she learned a valuable lesson from the play: "We've got to face up to our problems and try to do the right thing."

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