Lights, Camera, Action
Theater BSU Performs at Library Atrium
By Auburn Mann
After a captivating performance at the Kennedy Center, Theater BSU returned to campus Sept. 24 and 25 to the Thurgood Marshall Library atrium with no less of a show completing their 4th Annual New Play Festival.
The festival was guided by directors Professors Renee' Charlow and Bob Bartlett; the sound effects were a contribution of the sound supervisor Paul Mitchell, and recited by Theater arts Students, Nicole Carter, Torrence Hughes, Quashan Kuoame, Kala Barkley, David Hooker, Devin Tillman , Chelsea Mays , Jessica Jackson , Davesus Omosun, Danielle Davis, and Danielle Warren.
The Festival consisted of several play readings dealing with contemporary issues in America, specifically race, class and power. The staged readings were the works of local Washington, D.C. metropolitan area playwrights. The plays performed included: "Altruism," "Driving Green," "A New Color," "Normal is a Country," "Enough" and "America." Both directors were each assigned three of the six plays.
Professor Bartlett was responsible for the direction of "Driving Green," "Normal is a Country" and "Enough."
"Driving Green," which was written by Martin Blank is a comedy of a husband and wife discussing the merits of taking heed to global warming and environmentally aware, while trying to decide whether to buy a "green" Toyota Prius.
"Normal is a Country," written by Steven Shutzman, is a post-war drama centered on a young man who has just returned from Iraq and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. The young man also deals with other harsh realities of a soldier returning from war and trying readjust to society. Performer David Hooker played the character of the psychologically wounded soldier. "It was an odd and foreign experience for me to portray this character because," Hooker said. "He was trying to identify himself and all that was familiar previous to his service in the war."
"Enough", written by Pat Montley is a play that looks into the fine lines between issues like appropriate and sufficient charity and greed, as a homeless man and a wealthy man come into contact with each other and hold as philosophical discussion.
Professor Charlow was the director of "Altruism," "A New Color" and "America."
"Altruism" by Sara llyse Jacobson was about well intentioned people from the western world travel into a small and impoverished Mexican City to help out in terms of helping the citizens reach a higher quality of life. However, these good intentions begin to gradually transform into selfish motives with their behavior reflecting, thereby placing an ironic spin on the story's title, which entails selflessness and working for the good of others.
"A New Color" written by Sean Behrens deals with the frequent exploitation of the media, and how bad news is conditioned into society on a daily basis.
"America" written by Kim Yaged, as Professor Charlow describes it, is "a pageant, a celebration of diversity in America." It focuses on the interactions of all the different groups that make up America today and how perceptions and misconceptions fuel the way Americans interact as a whole. Quashaun Kouame, who played the character of New Asia, said "It was my favorite role to portray because of its chemistry with the other characters in the script and it gave me a chance to try out an accent."
As you can probably guess the audience was quite satisfied with this brilliant blend of comedy and drama leaving them entertained, yet at the same time educated. Professor Bartlett said, "Since many of the play's were a little on the edgy side you had a wide variety of reactions from the audience." However, the words of student Cedric Booth Jr. say it all, " I thought the plays [were] creative and shined a new light on issues that ... remain in today's American society."