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Roundabout Youth Ensemble Will Present Shakespeare-Inspired HIDDEN TRUTHS

The play will be streamed starting August 14.

Roundabout Youth Ensemble Will Present Shakespeare-Inspired HIDDEN TRUTHS

This summer, Roundabout Youth Ensemble will present a virtual play written and produced by New York's youth. Hidden Truths, inspired by Shakespeare's Othello, brings to light injustices the black community faces. The show will be available on YouTube from August 14-28 with a live launch event on August 14 from 5-7pm. Written by Jaden Tench, Nicaulis Mercedes, and Xavier Chavez and directed by Tyia Boteng, the play addresses issues faced in 2020 with a post-pandemic twist.

Hidden Truths follows Omari (Shai Graham), a boy who never had many opportunities and is used to being discriminated against because of the color of his skin. He is faced with opposition when he must pick between Destiny, (Lia Spahn) the girl he loves, or the education he's always desired. Can Omari and Destiny challenge authority and prevail against her racist father?

Roundabout Theatre Company's afterschool program, Roundabout Youth Ensemble (RYE), is a student-led theatre company modeled on Roundabout's professional theatre production process. This summer, 37 young people representing 15 NYC Public High Schools have collaborated via video conference and online communication to write and produce an original play to be presented online. Working together under the guidance of the RYE Leaders (high school students who interviewed and trained for Leadership roles) and Roundabout Teaching Artists, the ensemble is in charge of every aspect, while learning teamwork and cooperation skills. "RYE has given me a new form of excitement during the drag of a quarantined summer. It gives me a reason to wake up for the day with something to look forward to, something to practice in my free time," actor Yana Khandaker said, "I can already feel myself learning and polishing my skills from it. I really fell in love with the cast, characters, and story. This has been a great experience overall."

In addition to Shai Graham (Omari) and Lia Spahn (Destiny), the cast consists of Brandon Suarez (Ian), Carol Sabbagh (Ms. Andrews), Danielle Travino (Mr. Smith), Elijah Turner (Chris), J. Tartaglia (Ms. Williams), Kevin Torello (Bernard), Sierra Smith-Vasquez (Bianca), and Yana Khandaker (Emily). The costume design team is led by Maya Acevade and supported by Aila Reyes, Alyssa Bowman, Frances Lavezzari, Jademarie Gerena, and Lauren Wood. The lighting team is led by Emely Batista and includes Cathleen Conte-Marrero, Christopher Etienne, Julia Dobrovsky, and Rosalind Hernandez. Set is led by Rohandry Hernandez, with support from Eily Mustillo, Maia Wellington, Sacora Iniguez, and Zulgey Cruz. Lastly, sound is led by Erin Harkins, with support from Esmerelda Cuautle, Hope Pirovolikos, and Lisbeth Sierra.

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