Urban issues take center stage in two Chicago performances

As a longtime physician in a community health clinic on Chicago's South Side, Doriane Miller says she began seeing a disturbing trait among her young patients.

Many of them had either been victims of gunfire or knew someone who had been shot.

The impact she saw was devastating.

Children growing up and living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in the third-largest U.S. city were exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder-not unlike combat veterans fighting wars thousands of miles away.

"One would think that being shot would be a significant, life-changing event," Miller says. But what has become too common in some of the city's hardest-hit areas also has gone a long way in normalizing what many others would consider anomalous in their lives.

"I've had patients brush it off," she says.

Still, victims of violent crime struggle to fully recover and younger crime victims fall behind in school and engage in risky behaviors, like unprotected sex and drug and alcohol abuse.

After receiving a grant in 2010 to organize health seminars on the topic, Miller wrote a play, "It Shoudda Been Me," which follows a fictional character, DeShawn, after his friend is killed in a drive-by.

Tiombe Eiland, a retired CPS teacher who now is working in a Catholic school in the Roseland neighborhood, says the play has had a major impact on her students.

Many students related to the play's main character and, much to Eiland's surprise, bared their "vulnerabilities."

"They would open up in front of adults and in front of other students that they didn't necessarily know," she says.

"It Shoudda Been Me" is being presented in collaboration with the University of Chicago Urban Health Initiative and will be performed by the youth theater at Chicago's eta Creative Arts Foundation, located at 7558 S. South Chicago Ave.

The youth theater also is premiering "Have You Seen My Daddy?" a musical that chronicles the impact of a single-parent upbringing.

Written and directed by eta's artistic director, Runako Jahi, the performance premieres Dec. 26 and runs through June 1.

Inspired by his work with teenagers during his weekly Saturday theater workshop, Jahi set out to write an episodic musical that tackles major urban issues borne from fatherless homes.

But from a "sense of hopelessness," Jahi says, "you can survive regardless of the situation you're in. ...

This play is to benefit young people by not preaching at them, but by showing examples of different situations."

General admission tickets are $6 for adults and children and $5 for groups of 25 or more. For reservations, call (773) 752-3955.

Past articles

Exploring Edgebrook: Chicago neighborhood perfect for a winter day out

Family favorite stops for a winter day out in a quaint neighborhood on the far northwest side of the city. Read...

 

5 at-home services for busy Chicago parents

Do you ever wish you you could wave a wand and get everything done that you needed to do? These at-home services are the closest things to having a real-life Fairy Godmother. Read...

 

Shakespeare for Chicago kids: Lions in Illyria marvels

Lifeline Theater's rendition of Lions in Illyria is a great introduction for kids to the works of Shakespeare.  Read...

 

Mi Sol Academy’s playground expands students’ minds and imaginations

Play is the work of the child. At Mi Sol Academy in Orland Park, play, and more specifically the unique playground,is at the heart of many of their academic teachings. Read...

 
 
Sponsored by
Mi Sol Academy

New song hopes to spread awareness for disabilities

Two Central Illinois sisters have created a song for the Changing the Face of Beauty campaign to help convince businesses to include people with disabilities in their advertising. The campaign hopes get commitments from at least 15 retailers this year. Read...

 

Sneak peak: The Lincoln Park Zoo snow monkeys

There’s no monkey like a snow monkey. Check out this sneak peak into the new exhibit at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Read...

 

Chicago weekend events for kids

There's a lot going on in this world-class city we live in, and the options can be overwhelming. Here are our our not-to-miss events this weekend. Read...

 

School physical therapists invent standing desk

Two women have teamed up to help kids with ADHD and other special needs feel more comfortable in their classrooms. Read...

 

Old Town School of Folk Music offers unique class for kids with special needs

Popular Wiggleworms class modified just for kids with special needs. Read...

 
 



 
 
 
Copyright 2014 Wednesday Journal Inc. All rights reserved. Chicago web development by liQuidprint