Breast Cancer Battle Takes Center Stage in ‘Faces'
By Ashonda Bethea-Ruth
Bowie State University's Department of Fine and Performing Arts held its last performance Nov. 14 of its play "Faces: Shades of Survival", written by local playwright Odell B. Ruffen of Greenbelt, Md.
The play was centered on four African-American women battling breast cancer, both physically and emotionally. The main theme of the play was, "Death doesn't have a face survival does."
The performance was held in the Samuel L. Myers Auditorium in the Martin Luther King Jr. Communications Art Center. The play was roughly an hour and a half long, and was held without an intermission.
The stage was set up simply, with a few interchangeable props, focusing more on the women, and less on their surroundings.
The setting of the play took place at Faces, a rehabilitation center for women with breast cancer, where the four women would meet for the first time and connect throughout the play.
There were many scene changes throughout the play, many short in time lapse. The characters ranged from a highly popular TV personality, a young urban girl, a highly successful and dedicated businesswoman, and a housewife.
For the first half of the play, each scene focused individually on the women whose lives had been affected by breast cancer, each having a different reaction to the shocking news.
There were many emotions displayed in the play, ranging from anger, disbelief, laughter and confusion. The cast performed admirably, showcasing their acting range in such a dramatic role, especially when showing the different affect that death takes on people.
The play gave the audience insight on the seriousness realities surrounding this disease.
Graduating Senior, Apollonia Edwards, who came to support her friend, said that she didn't know what to expect, but enjoyed the play very much. "It was great. Very emotional...informational...words can't explain."
At the end of the performance, the cast and crew came onto the stage and began a question-and-answer portion with the audience, answering any questions they had regarding the play or breast cancer related topics.
During the session, many of the cast and crew revealed that they had personal experience with breast cancer, and how the play had hit close to home in many ways.
The author and director of the play stated that although he had never had any personal experience with breast cancer, he wanted to cast a light on the effects it had on people. He said it was like "a message from God."
When asked what she felt people got out of the play, sophomore theatre arts major Crystal Roberts, who had a role in the play, said she'd hoped that they got a sense of understanding, and to see its affect on people.
Ruffen hopes to bring the play back to BSU in the spring semester.