'Lost Boys Found' production brings history to life at ASU West campus

Eric Banks, Nicole Belit and Bill Ramsey perform in “Lost Boys Found,” to be presented Oct. 8 at ASU’s West campus. (Photo courtesy of ASU News) Eric Banks, Nicole Belit and Bill Ramsey perform in “Lost Boys Found,” to be presented Oct. 8 at ASU’s West campus. (Photo courtesy of ASU News)

Students will perform a workshop production of “Lost Boys Found” Wednesday night at the Kiva Lecture Hall at the West campus. The performance will bring to life one of the most tragic stories of the 21st century.

The story compiles the experiences of the Lost Boys of Sudan who were interviewed for the ASU Lost Boys oral history project, which can be found at the ASU Digital Repository. The Lost Boys of Sudan are Sudanese boys who were displaced during the Second Sudanese Civil War.

Julie Amparano, lecturer in the School for Humanities, Arts and Culture and writer of the play, was excited to see the project coming together.

“I had several students that were lost boys several years ago, and they kept telling me, 'You should write something about it,' and the more I thought about it and everything they went through, the more I realized they were right,” she said.

First, she and a group of students collected and organized the oral history collection. Then she started writing the script for her new play.

“Oral histories are very academic, so I thought, if I can compile and create universal characters using the experiences of these kids, then we could really truly represent them,” she said, “I truly want to honor them and create something they can go back to and preserve.”

Interdisciplinary studies graduate student Arthur Morales helped with both the oral history project and "Lost Boys Found."

“I took Cross-Cultural Writing 317, and one of the assignments was to interview a Lost Boy of Sudan. We actually won first place for our research and project at the undergraduate research expo,” he said, adding that Amparano got in touch with him about helping with the play after this recognition.

When working to transcribe the biographies of the Lost Boys interviewed, Morales realized the significance of their stories.

Amparano said one of the most impressive parts of the performance was the work the cast put into creating their South Sudanese accents. Amparano said the cast has worked very hard to accurately portray the accents and characters.

Cast member Nicole Belit took the challenge to master the differences and has rehearsed a lot in order to be accurate, she said.

“I did a lot of research and watched a lot of videos to get the accent down,” she said, “I recorded myself so I could compare it to what I was hearing from the people of South Sudan. Not all of them talk the same. There’s different ways of speaking, which was comforting.”

Beyond the accents, however, Belit said she hopes to share the significance of the history of these stories, too.

“Knowing what happened to the people of Sudan, I wanted to shed light on what was going on for those that don’t realize,” she said, “Sometimes I think people get too comfortable with their safety and security, and it’s important to have shows like this to show the significance of these events and what's happening in the world.”

The performance of "Lost Boys Found" will be free for all attendees Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Kiva Lecture Hall on the West campus.


Reach the reporter at rtashboo@asu.edu or follow her on twitter at @Rachael_Ta

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