Theatre is more than role playing and singing in front of an audience.

It’s a transformative art form, both on and off stage, especially for those who have trouble expressing themselves in public.

Playwright Rosette Jarriett had similar difficulties with expression as a child, she says. That’s one of the reasons she founded her Magnified Gift Theatre Company in 2016.

“When I was younger, I didn’t really talk that much. I was very quiet and theatre was the way I expressed myself,” says Jarriett, 30. With Magnified Gift, she’s hoping to integrate education and theatre in a way that will encourage and inspire underserved communities on Chicago’s Westside.

“Theatre helped me out with the way I talk to people. It helped with critical thinking,” Jarriett continues. “It helps not only just in theatre but it helps with job opportunities when you’re looking for jobs – how to conduct yourself in an interview and how to present yourself in society as a whole.”

This week, the company’s second production, Lost in Time, is showing at the Madison Street Theatre in Oak Park. A story of perseverance and faith, Lost in Time follows a woman who is stuck between a hopeful future and a past filled with abusive relationships, insecurity and death. The play is directed by Nina McAlpin, an acting coach and award-winning director. Meanwhile, Jarriett flexes her drama writing and acting skills in the play.

“It’ll make you laugh. It’ll make you cry,” Jarriett says about Lost in Time. “What makes us stand out is… We want the audience to be affected by adding real-life situations to the stage so they can say, ‘That’s me on the stage. I’ve been through that.’”

Another mission of Magnified Gift, Jarriett says, is to find a permanent home that is easily accessible to African Americans on the Westside and in the western suburbs. Though she’s thankful to Madison Street Theatre for hosting her shows, it’s not home for Magnified Gift. She and her staff are in the process of raising money for a space to call their own.

“A lot of theatre companies are already on the Northside and we’re not looking to add to that,” Jarriett says. “There isn’t a lot of theatre on [this] side of town that’s helping the community as far as integrating education.”

Jarriett used to teach children through a head start program at Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action in Maywood. There, she grew passionate about helping low-income families while also witnessing the power of a child’s ability to learn when a dance or song is incorporated into the lesson plan.

“The idea is to get some sponsors or grants or someone that can fund programs that will help kids come out to the shows so they would not have to pay if they’re not able to,” Jarriett says. “We want to be able to expand that on the Westside and the west suburbs of Chicago.”

What: Magnified Gift Theatre Company presents… Lost in Time 

When: March 9 through March 19

Showtimes: 7:30pm on Thursday-Saturday and 2:30pm Saturday-Sunday

Cost: $25 (general admission), $15 (student and senior)

Contact Leslie Dansby for more information at 708-449-5840


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