ABOUT THE SHOW
Based on the real experiences of a San Diego native, Safa is an effervescent African American fifth grader with a big imagination and an even bigger heart. Through storytelling and music inspired by Safa's bicultural, American and Zimbabwean background, audiences meet her caring mother, kind teacher, and irresistible friends — as well as a new classmate who creates deepening divides between Safa and her peers. Designed to allow young people to consider the complexities of racism, difference, and prejudice, Safa's Story initially ends in heartbreak before audiences embark on an empowering journey to alter the outcomes of the play itself.
Created by local artist and activist Catherine Hanna Schrock, the show is based on Augusto Boal's model of Forum Theater. A genre of performance rarely seen in San Diego, Forum Theater was developed so that audiences might explore tangible ways to change the world in which we live. During the show, audiences are challenged to find new ways of supporting and empowering the central characters, encouraging young people to act on behalf of themselves or their peers when they experience injustice. This timely and ultimately hopeful play offers children and families an opportunity to navigate this difficult but important conversation during a time of increasing division and discord.
Safa's Story is a world premiere play for family audiences, recommended for ages 6 and up. The world premiere production was produced by Blindspot Collective in partnership with Bocón in Spring 2018.
In February and March 2020, Blindspot Collective presented Safa's Story at 20 schools, including 14 Title I schools, across San Diego County for 52 performances serving over 3,160 elementary and middle school students. As part of the program, approximately 3,000 students also participated in a pre-show workshop with Blindspot Collective’s multicultural Teaching Artist team. Teaching Artists spent one hour in each individual classroom to prepare students to see the show by supporting them in defining and understanding racism, and discussing what it means to be an upstander.
MEET THE ARTISTS
Written & Directed by Catherine Hanna Schrock
Produced for Video by Blake McCarty
With Music by Derek Rice
& Shayla James
Stage Manager: Bianca Jennings
Assistant Stage Manager: Shawdi Sani
Film Crew: Joe Kao, Jack Mason-Brase & Peter Schrock
Featuring Jaeonnie Davis-Crawford, Kandace Crystal,
Shellina Hefner, Jack Holdeman, Monique Gaffney,
Wilfred Paloma, Derek Rice, Catherine Hanna Schrock,
Andrew Walters & Sofia Zaragoza
After four amazing years, Blindspot Collective is not currently producing
Safa's Story. However, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about other opportunities for your students.
To learn more about this show, contact its creator, Catherine Hanna Schrock at email@example.com
FREquently asked questions
What is Forum Theater?
Established in the early 1970s by Brazilian director and activist Augusto Boal, Forum Theater is one of the most popular forms of Theater of the Oppressed. In Forum Theater, actors present a short play in which the protagonist experiences a conflict or injustice, and ultimately fails to reach a goal in their life. Then the Joker, the narrator and facilitator of the play, engages the audience in a conversation and invites them to change the outcome of the play. The actors begin the play again and audience members are given the opportunity to simply say, “STOP!” when they wish to change the action in the play. As audience members stop the play, they are invited to imagine a new choice that could have been made in that moment and to roleplay an action that would create a better result for the protagonist.
Is the show appropriate for my child?
Safa's Story was designed for children and families of all ages. For in school performances, we recommend it for 3rd-8th grade students. However, as the central characters are in 5th grade, students in 4th-6th grade will find the context most relatable.
To ensure the safety and comfort of our audiences, children under the age of 4 will not be permitted to attend, and during intergenerational community performances parent or guardian supervision is required for any child in attendance.
Safa's Story was created to support children and families of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to consider race, ethnicity, bullying, teasing and the challenges of navigating difference. The play is designed to support children in identifying and dismantling racial injustice and to support children in learning how to defend themselves and their peers. While there is a clear bully and victim in the play, the intention and the design is not to demonize any one character, but to learn how to understand, respect, and lift up all the characters as best as we can. The performance paves the way for children to critically consider their role and responsibility in responding to racial injustice when it shows up in real life.
How will you navigate difficult conversations around race and difference?
Discussing racial injustice is challenging and often painful. Blindspot Collective is committed to using performance to create spaces for communities to navigate these difficult conversations. It is our deeply held belief that art and truthful storytelling can support communities in building bridges and deepening understanding. We are trained to support creative, thoughtful, and gentle processes.
We recognize that there is a level of risk in exploring this challenging topic. We anticipate that these conversations could cause some discomfort and as such we encourage families to be prepared to continue this dialogue together after the show. In the words of Augusto Boal, "It is not the place of theater to show the correct path, but only to offer the means by which paths may be examined." We are humbled to initiate this journey with you, and hope you will continue the journey together when you leave the theater.
Additionally, we have created some tools to cultivate and support a safe space during our programming. Our Teaching Artists will come to classrooms prior to each show to lead an interactive pre-show lesson to prepare children in the themes and vocabulary from the show. After the program, Blindspot will offer schools a free Study Guide for teachers and counselors to continue to engage students after the show.
How long is the show?
The show is approximately 90 minutes and does not have an intermission.
Blindspot Collective develops artistic programming to illuminate voices, communities, and stories in the blindspot
of our society.
If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org