Alan Kreizenbeck is an associate professor of Theater at UMBC.
From October 16 until October 20, the Theatre Department presented 3D: Diversity, Disparity, and Dialogue in the lobby, large rehearsal room, and proscenium theatre of the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building. The audience moved along with the actors as they traveled from space to space. The rehearsal room had little seating, so the audience was scattered throughout the space, intermingled with the actors. The script was created almost entirely by by the student actors, with added writings by the Dalai Lama, Lorraine Hansberry, Suzan-Lori Parks, Wallace Shawn, Tony Kushner, and Thich Nhat Hahn. The play was a series of short scenes and monologues all related to the person connections that the actors felt to contemporary social conflicts. They got to write and speak their own words, for them a tremendously powerful and moving experience…shared, we hope, by the audience.
Mabelle: I’m sorry I’m late. Excuse me please, is this spot taken?
Actors begin to circle around Mabelle as they ask questions :
I love your accent. Oh my God, where are you from? Are you from Africa?
Hey, you should join the track team, you must have mad skills from running from lions.
I’m just surprised you have on clothes, don’t you guys just wear leaves?
Do you know how to use a computer?
Do you know how to use a knife and fork?
I’m surprised you’re not skinny.
Mabelle: Stop!! Why do you insist on focusing on the poorest parts of developing nations? Why don’t you take the time to learn our history? Why are we still misrepresented in the 21st century? Why is it that the last people who come here are treated badly? We’re a country of immigrants, so why would you shun people who come here with a vision of working hard and rising up? Why do you try to crush their dreams? Why do you do that?
Hana: Hey, just because you landed on our doorstep doesn’t mean we have to give you the keys to the castle.
Other actors agree and laugh and walk away.
From a song written by Andrew Jackson Jihad
(selected verses printed here):
People are wasteful, they waste all the food
People are hateful and people are rude. But God I love some people sometimes,
because people are very, very special…
And people are my religion because I believe in them.
People are my enemies and people are my friends
I have faith in my fellow man, and I only hope that he has faith in me.
I said I have faith in my fellow man and I only hope that he has faith in me.
Cast bows, thanks the audience for coming, leads them out to the lobby.
Contact the author, Alan Kreizenbeck, at email@example.com.