MAY 8, 2013
What young people today can learn from Pocahontas
In the upcoming CYT production, The Legend of Pocahontas, the title character is portrayed by Cadence Lamb, a junior at Veritas Preparatory Academy in Phoenix. Cadence has appeared in XX productions with CYT but this role is definitely special–a modern teen playing Pocahontas, who was in her own time a very modern teen. We asked Cadence to share some of her thoughts about the heroine she plays:
Pocahontas is such a famous historical figure. What did you learn about her in playing this part that you hadn't known previously?
Well, I learned some pretty great stuff! For example, how she leaves EVERYTHING to move to England to promote peace. Also, she actually single-handedly saved John Smith's life and then learned English from him with absolutely no common language to go off of, which is a testament to her intelligence. Without her encouraging her father to work with John Smith, everyone in Jamestown would have died. Some say America wouldn't exist today if that happened, which is why she is called the Mother of our country. She was incredible.
What about Pocahontas's story and choices inspired you?
So much! I guess I could sum it all up to her dependence on God. I don't think she could have come out of being held captive, stripped from her tribe, losing John Smith, or adapting to England without trust in God. She had absolutely no one beside her but Him through all of that. Not only did she survive it, she grew and learned but never lost the spirit she grew up with in her tribe.
Pocahontas was caught between two worlds. As a teenager so close to adulthood, can you relate to that?
Definitely. It's scary being a teenager and starting to take on the responsibilities of adulthood and to understand more clearly all that's out there in the world. At the same time I don't want to lose the free and joyful spirit I had as a kid. Pocahontas was pushed into a new world, too, and had to take on many huge responsibilities. But she kept her spirit and roots which made her so captivating and likeable to the English.
Pocahontas was entrenched in her culture's traditions. How important do you think traditions are to the modern teen?
Unfortunately, I don't think many teenagers like the sound of 'tradition'. We can be kind of obsessed with whatever is new and pushing boundaries. But many of Pocahontas' traditions were beautiful and helped shape her, and she knew it. Though, obviously there were some traditions she stood against, like the sacrifices.
Pocahontas also had to stand against her own father at one point.
She also obeys him, the only exception being when she is positive that his decision is not what is best. This is a crucial distinction, because her defiance is not based in a need to prove herself or want to exhibit power, but rather a pure conviction. Her father actually admired this attribute which proves how innocent it was.
What do you hope young audiences come away with after seeing The Legend of Pocahontas?
I hope teenagers can see all she accomplished at such a young age. I hope that they see what she was focused on, which was not appearances, having fun, or even making a name for herself (though she certainly did). She only wanted peace to keep the people and cultures she loved safe. Why wait until you're older to do that if Pocahontas started as a teenager?
The Legend of Pocahontas runs from May 10-19th, 2013 at the Mesa Arts Center. Se ewww.cytphoenix.org for more information.
CYT is the largest and most successful youth theater program in the United States. CYT offers after school theater arts classes, fully staged musical theater productions, and summer camps. Professional instructors teach singing, acting, dance, improv, stage combat, and a variety of other theater arts skills which build character, confidence, and leadership abilities in young people. Visit cyt.org for more information.