In the fall of 2020, Silk Road Rising partnered with Asian Human Services to offer EPIC (Empathic Playwriting Intensive Course) to English Language Learners (ELL) in Chicago's West Ridge community. This collaboration marked the first time ever that EPIC was adapted for ELL. Silk Road Rising teaching artists Lexi Saunders and Janyce Caraballo, along with Asian Human Services' Mandy Bozart, Dan Hanrahan, Katerina Krentik, Sarah Moss, and Christine Overholt, taught the participating students English while cultivating empathy and turning personally meaningful stories into plays.
Five of those stories have now been transformed into mini-video plays under the direction of Lexi Saunders and featuring actors Owais Ahmed, Zhanna Albertini, Tina El Gamal, Nina Jayashankar, and Juan Gonzalez Machain.
Written by Flora Cholico, Tuba Abid (not pictured), Kani Rinatova, Ardiana Muhaxhiri, and Dima Sulaiman, Directed by Lexi Saunders
Stories from English Language Learners features tales of triumph, heartache, sacrifice, and growth: the threat of having to uproot your life amidst dire financial circumstances; the fear and wonder of stepping out on your own; the pressures to choose career over family; the journey toward discovering what you believe is right; the enduring struggle for citizenship; and above all, the joys of accomplishing your goals.
In addition to hearing these five women's stories, you'll hear directly from each playwright about why they wrote these stories, what their hopes are for the future, and how this process has affected them. Check out this new, heartwarming collection streaming for free on YouTube.