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Merrimack Valley

February 17, 2013

On the Fringe

Lawrence High students help classmates get to theater festival in Scotland

LAWRENCE — In August, students from the Lawrence High School will take a piece of the city to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Fifteen students from the Performing and Fine Arts High School will perform “Circle Game” at the Fringe Festival, the largest of its kind in the world. The festival has attracted performers from across the globe since 1947. It will be held Aug. 2-26 and includes theater, comedy, dance, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events.

Before arriving in Scotland, the Lawrence students will tour London by bus and attend a show in the West End.

Matthew Evangelista, PFA theater teacher said the play explores what life is like in Lawrence for teenagers and adults while exploring urban stereotyping as seen in school and inner-city living. Evangelista and his wife, Jennifer Dargie came up with the script from stories they heard from previous students about living in Lawrence.

The show uses several black boxes covered with graffiti as the set. The actors sit and talk about everything from a teenager who cannot find a job because of his appearance and ethnic background; the reasons why a young boy decided to join a gang; a single mother who has two jobs to provide for her child and the stress that results and an academically talented student who cannot attend the college of her choice because she cannot afford it.

“This is not just a trip, it’s about bringing a little of ourselves and the story of Lawrence to a much grandeur scale. We’re teaching about theater, about living, how to be a better citizen and how to help change the image of Lawrence,” said theater teacher Matthew Evangelista.

Attending the festival in Scotland is another highlight of the theater department, Evangelista said. The program which started with 20 students now has 150 and presents four shows a year instead of two as it did in the beginning.

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