Monologues written by middle schoolers voicing their stories were performed by theater students from Central Washington University.
Teachers at Wahluke Junior High worked with the university theater department to help students with voicing their stories in what has become known as “The Mattawa Monologues.”
Sixth grade English teacher Autumn Harlow says that approximately 200 middle school students were given the task of writing short stories about their lives, which were then given to the theater students from CWU who picked 25 of them to perform publicly.
“It’s always intriguing to me to hear what’s going on in today’s 13-year-old head,” said Patrick Dizney, the associate chair of theater arts at Central and a performance instructor.
“I told the kids ‘tell a story,’” Dizney said. “I emphasized, ‘make it personal. Tell us how you see the world.’ They seemed to respond to it quite nicely.”
Some of the middle schoolers followed instructions when writing monologues and some did not, but all pieces were interesting and amazing work.
“Some of the content was personal and not super happy,” Dizney said. “They said, ‘People in our community are facing some challenges.’”
Senior theater major Annie Powers hopes to teach high school or college theater. She said the most important thing was the importance of holding every student to a high standard and giving every student a chance to speak and be heard.
“Middle schoolers don’t have much of a voice, and who’s ever heard of Mattawa? So we gave some people a voice,” she said.