Stranger Story: First Name Basis

What is a stranger? That is the question being asked by the students of YPT’s Young Playwrights’ Workshop in their play, The Young Playwrights’ Workshop Presents: Welcome to Our World, which will be performed on Monday, June 11 at GALA Hispanic Theatre. Workshop member Patricio Juarez explains, “Every great story begins when two people meet for the first time.” So we asked our staff to share stories of a time when they met a stranger who had an effect on them. To share a story and get it posted to our blog, email

Throughout my childhood, I moved A LOT. Consequently, I always found myself in new environments surrounded by strangers from different cultures, with different traditions, and who often didn’t speak the same language as me. But as I was wracking my brain trying to think of a meaningful experience with one of these many strangers, I realized that essentially everyone you know, except for maybe your parents, was a stranger at one point in your life. And one experience I kept thinking about was how I made my first friend.

It was the first day of kindergarten. The day was a blur of nervous excitement, sitting at my desk in my new school clothes with blank composition books, sharp pencils and unused erasers, trying to make sense of all the new names and faces. I desperately wanted to make friends, but I was shy, and nervous about approaching other kids, all strangers to me. Finally, during the last few minutes of the school day, we all gathered in a circle to wait for our parents. As I sat there, I caught the eye of another girl sitting near me. I mustered up my courage and asked what her name was.  “Natalie,” she said, and then asked me what my name was. “Alison,” I replied.  Then I said, “Do you want to be my friend?”  “Okay,” she agreed, smiling.  And it was that simple.  Our parents came and picked us up, and the next day in class, we were friends.

I wish I could say I’m still in touch with this girl, or that making friends has always been this easy, but on that first day in kindergarten I realized that meeting new people isn’t always so scary, and sometimes all it takes for a stranger to become a friend is learning each other’s names.

Alison Beyrle
Development and Producing Associate 

Don’t miss The Young Playwrights’ Workshop Presents: Welcome to Our World on June 11 at 7pm at GALA Hispanic Theatre!

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