Young Blood


NEW YORK CITY: It's not that there haven't been plays about the war in Iraq. But it's rare for them to be written from the perspective of teens from working-class neighborhoods. "We don't think of the war as a youth issue," points out director Brian Mullin, "but young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are fighting and dying there. For a lot of public high school kids, the armed services are their avenue of advancement." Over There/Over Here, playing at Castillo Theatre through Dec. 10, is war according to a 22-year-old playwright, Michael Reyes, who spent nearly a year guarding the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad. And it's based on characters developed from a cast of nine between the ages of 17 and 23, most of whom are first- or second-generation Americans from black or Latino backgrounds. "This is a segment of the population that often doesn't get to speak out about how the war affects them," points out Mullin (himself not yet 30).

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The two-act piece was born at Castillo (which was founded by Dan Friedman in 1984 to bring experimental political theatre to a working-class NYC audience) as part of its Youth Onstage! program, which provides free theatre training to young people. This is Brooklyn-raised playwright Reyes's first full production, though Castillo has done readings of two of his previous plays. …

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