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Appalachian Young People’s Theatre premieres “The Hero Twins: Blood Race” April 6-8

Daniel Herman, a sophomore theatre education major from Pinehurst (left) portrays the role of Cricket, and Emma Harkins, a freshman business major from Boone, plays his twin sister Moth in “The Hero Twins: Blood Race,” a play about two siblings struggling to find their strengths, together and apart. Photo by Lynn Willis.


BOONE, N.C. – The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance will present the world premiere of “The Hero Twins: Blood Race” by playwright Ramón Esquivel. The family-friendly production is being performed on tour by the award-winning Appalachian Young People’s Theatre (AYPT) in elementary schools throughout the region, and in the  I. G. Greer Studio Theatre on the university campus from April 6–8. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for all students.

Moth, portrayed by Emma Harkins, a freshman business major from Boone (standing top left), and Mary Sass as Iguana, a junior theatre education major from Raleigh (center), watch Cricket, portrayed by Daniel Herman, a sophomore theatre education major from Pinehurst. Photo by Lynn Willis.

“The Hero Twins” is loosely based on a Mayan legend and explores issues of prejudice, perseverance and belonging. Promoting acceptance of differences and supporting growth through adversity, the production is designed to help children understand how they can thrive in an unfair world. Moth, the female protagonist of the show, must compete in The Blood Race in order to save her brother, Cricket. The race is set up with a bias against Moth, which leads her to ask the question: “Do I accept things as they’ve always been, or do I tear it down and start fresh?”

Moth and Cricket are twins, but they’re very different people. They take a different approach to challenges and adversity, but they also challenge stereotypes and find their own motivations to continue on their personal journeys. Both learn to use the strength found within themselves, but they also learn that the strength inside of them is greater when combined.

“Playwright Ramon Esquivel blends contemporary themes of race, gender equality, the value of family and moral character of leadership into the ancient setting of ‘The Hero Twins’ legend,” said AYPT director Teresa Lee, professor of theatre at Appalachian State University. “The play’s protagonist, Moth, is on a hero’s journey, a coming of age story with which all young people can identify. For these and many other reasons, I was drawn to this play and embarked on the journey to produce it for AYPT audiences.”

According to Lee, Esquivel’s play speaks to what it means to transcend class barriers and the station of your birth to become your best self, in spite of the stories others may tell you about what you should be. During a recent visit, Esquivel told the cast that he hoped his stories would inspire empathy, connection and wisdom. “He is writing about belonging in this world and where people fit into that scenario,” said Lee, adding that “The Hero Twins” is sure to bring a smile to audience’s faces.

“The Hero Twins: Blood Race” will be performed on April 6 at 7 p.m. and on April 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. in the I. G. Greer Studio Theatre located on 401 Academy Street on Appalachian State’s campus. The front entrance of I. G. Greer faces the side of Sanford Hall also located on 401 Academy Street. Parking is available after 5 P.M. on campus in faculty/staff lots and after 5:30 P.M. in the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons. For information or to purchase tickets, call the Schaefer Center box office toll free at (800) 841-2787, locally at (828) 262-4046, visit the box office in person, or go online at theschaefercenter.org/tickets.

By Anna Rhodes


About the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.