Every year, City at Peace brings Santa Barbara teens together to compose and perform an original musical in order to allow youth to share their personal stories with the community. This year’s production, Masks, touched on a series of controversial subjects that are prevalent as occurrences, yet often shunned as topics of discussion among teens today, including teen pregnancy, the deportation of family members as illegal immigrants, poverty, the abuse of prescription medications, and domestic violence. Together, these students and their adult mentors composed an eye-opening expose of the lives of modern day, Santa Barbara teens. Even though not every local adolescent is subject to these hardships, Masks nevertheless proved that at any given moment, some definitely are, and that seemed to strike a chord with the audience, which was made up of a supportive amalgam of teens and adults.
From the start of show, each actor wore a mask, and each mask/character had a different story. As the performance progressed, these stories were shared and then overlapped, revealing personal narratives about real-life problems and the interconnectedness of a wide range of people in this city. Every time a character faced his/her problem, their mask was removed, and their identity was exposed.
The young cast and crew of Masks should be applauded (and they were) for their impressive performances. Apart from their skills on stage, their original script and music truly displayed the incredible perceptiveness and imagination that Santa Barbara teens possess.