Rita Kohn

The Brazilian creators of Pink Confessions: (l-r) Liane Gelatti, Joice de Brito e Cunha, Janaina Carvalho and Gisele Peliosoli

It may be 104 degree weather in Brazil at the time it's snowing in Indianapolis, yet three actresses from Brazil see very little difference between countries when it comes to the climate of emotions for teens facing parallel concerns.

Gisele Pelisoli, Janaina Varvalho and Liane Gelatti have been in Indianapolis and Muncie as part of the Partners of the America program to perform their original script, Pink Confessions, Reloaded which "focuses the female teenage reality," says Joice de Brito e Cunha, their director.

The troupe are members of the English-speaking Drama Club, a program of the Instituto Cultural Brasilero Norte-Americano in Porto Alegre, in Indiana's Brazilian sister-state of Rio Grande do Sul. The script originally was developed in 2001 for performances in Porto Alegre. Following Brito e Chunha's 2004 residency in Indiana, the seed was planted to return and perform the work that intrigued members of Indianapolis' arts community who attended workshops detailing the drama club's unique approach to teen concerns.

"For being more authentic and faithful to approach their world, we used as a basis for the script letters from teenagers to the column of Seventeen Magazine. We read the relevant magazine to improve our English language skills," explain the actresses. "For this new script, we read a hundred letters and chose fourteen. We closely identified with these topics. They're close to how we feel."

The themes revolve around insecurity and lack of self-esteem, concerns about appearance, boyfriends and relationships with parents. Three girls get together in one of their bedrooms and the conversation leads to a problem about a possessive boyfriend. Following the format of advice columns, they begin to role play, with one of them becoming the advice columnist and perhaps the person with whom the problem exists.

"There's humor but acceptance in the way we approach the dramatization of the problem and the advice the letter writer gets in the magazine. We were careful not to be prejudiced or preachy. It flows naturally from the actors."

"I'm very proud of the message we are sending with this play," comments Brito e Cunha. We are very frank with each other, but we are caring, loving in how we speak, interact."

The troupe is being hosted by VSAI [Very Special Arts-Indiana]. In addition to performances at public schools, museums and other venues, they are visiting college classrooms. Of particular significance was a visit to Indiana School for the Blind. "We presented scenes from our play and the students read their poems. We hugged each other. We're exchanging our experiences of growing up and they're the same."


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