Sunday, June 15, 2008

Denver teens bring play about homelessness to the stage

Artlab teens to present world premiere of Throwaway/ Runaway this Saturday and Sunday at Platteforum

For most Boulder and Denver residents, walking over a flattened cardboard box etched with the word hungry is as close to experiencing homelessness as it gets. Understanding the daily struggles of living on the streets is a difficult task. Nevertheless, high school teens from Denver’s Artlab are changing that with the world premiere of the play Throwaway/ Runaway.
Written by the teens themselves, the play Throwaway/Runaway will be performed this Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22, beginning at 2:00 pm. The play will be presented at the Riverfront Plaza in downtown Denver. Admission is free.

Directed by Jose Mercado with help from Craig Volk and costume designs by Mona Lucera, Throwaway/Runaway offers a frank insight into the lives of homeless youth. The Artlab teens spent an entire summer researching homelessness as well as volunteering in a homeless shelter to correctly convey the topic matter. Much time and effort has been put into this presentation so take a trip down to Denver not only to support these teens but to also gain knowledge about this serious issue.

Artlab is a collaborative program between Platteforum and Labyrinth Arts. The unique year-round internship and apprenticeship program is for underserved teens in the Denver-Metro area.

For more information, visit
What: world premiere of Throwaway/ Runaway
When: this Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22
Where: Riverfront Plaza is at the base of the Millennium Bridge at 1600 Little Raven St., Denver
Time: 2:00 pm
Admission: Free!

- By Erika Mahoney
Erika Mahoney is a summer intern at Boulder Book Store.


  1. We’re paralyzed by a world that swirls around us
    Hypnotized by sounds that cut our ears
    Bleeding, fasting, freezing, grasping, stuck here
    The hopeless, helpless, homeless that you fear

    We cannot move. We do not follow lust or greed
    We look, but our reflections taunt our needs
    We are writhing on the inside like balls of snakes in springtime
    Shackled by the gifts we could not be

    We squirm and claw and peer out from our boxes
    In paper prisons, slivers from the grave
    And while we wait and wallow in this mess we’re born to swallow
    Did you tell us that it’s providence, not fate?

    Is that how we came here, to all this glory?
    So much promise. So much promise! So denied.

    Could it be that wounded spirits without wings or legs to stand on
    only try to run so they can fly?

    What if …

    Abuse has two faces and a hundred different names.
    The fruits of which, in any case, would all bear out the same?

    And ...

    Nothing but destruction could sprout from such a ground,
    nurtured by a poisoned sky and tended with a frown?

    And ...

    The only thing that happened when all the swirling stopped
    Was the truth that we were searching for just settled to the top?
    And stood out like a flower in a farmer's field of weeds
    And rose above the vultures like a song-bird at the feed?

    Maybe …

    Abuse cannot be bulleted into types.

    Maybe …

    It does not have an order or a phase.

    “It’s physical then psychological.” “No. Wait.”
    “It’s psychological then physical.” Oh please!

    It’s neither. It’s both. I’m confused. Aren’t you?
    Isn’t it enough, it makes us bleed?!

    There may be structure, case by case. Of course.

    But would you waste our one last breath
    on desire? … to prove a test?
    Or a chance to beat your chest?
    Or a bunch of made up stress?

    Is it so important that you study every step?
    And save the saving for tomorrow when we’ll have no need to rest?
    Is your vigilance and tolerance all broken?
    Are there words you know to say, that go unspoken?

    Did you fear you would become and so became?
    A pawn, a knight, a player in this game?
    Did you use up every label but the clear one?
    And are turning now so you no longer hear them?

    Did you know that all the whispering can’t make true?
    The sentiment “There’s simply nothing we can do.“
    Have you lost the truth in your search for proof?
    Have you built all walls and not one roof?

    Is it too late now to raise your hands
    and face the line drawn in the sand?

    Or will you go on blindly, hoof to nose
    Following a fabled pot of gold?

    Say you chose a word as simple as “deceive”,
    And travelled to a land of cold and snow
    And buried it, and picked up “I believe”?
    Is it possible to will a root to grow?

    Could you help the blind who’s blindfolds are so knotted
    even hands of skill and eyes of blue
    would gasp, on finding ends that had so rotted
    their twisted threads of lies became the truth?

    Could you hold the ones who profit, in one spot
    Until they looked away from what they’d got?
    Then gently place the pain they’ve made upon their laps
    And show them, without pointing, the points that come from that?

    Might they see where they have been and rue the plot they’ve put us in,
    give up the fight, put down the arms and say, the end?
    And change the course for better headings, cause there’s no more blood for letting,
    and time is short for sowing love in sallow places worth forgetting?

    For how can anyone know, what they’ve not been shown?
    Is this the last life’s work on a long way home?
    left for the stragglers, those wretched few,
    broken, fallen, spirits without shoes?

    And so, if I may be permitted? ...

    Could we act swiftly now and fly straight to the dragon’s mouth
    And hold it's tongue until it’s forced its naked bottom out

    And if ...

    We survive the thrashing and the fire and the heat
    It's possible we'll still have our blackened bottoms for a seat.

  2. Thanks for sharing that with us, Anonymous!