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On-stage drama mimics real lives

Christina Collins Burton
Arts Editor

The students of the theater and community class have combined their individual passions for theater into a string of eight performances called “The Power of Hope” that push ignored issues into the limelight.

“We aren’t trying to save the community, but we are trying to bring awareness to the causes and what people can do about it,” Elizabeth Reyes, senior theater arts major, said.

This collection of plays offers a different experience for the audience by exposing them firsthand to actual testimonies.

The topics range from the painful experiences of cystic fibrosis patients to the twisted corruption of the government.

Each producer chose a topic and interviewed actual people about their experiences. After gathering the information, they each wrote the scripts to focus on issues they felt needed to be addressed.

Instead of having the audience sit in one place for all of the productions, the play is broken down to take the audience from the Dailey Theater mainstage, to the backstage walkway, into the Jane Dibbell cabaret and finally ending outside.

Jose Arias, sophomore theater arts major, is presenting his piece on the topic of disease on the mainstage.

The main character, Jane, goes through the steps of acceptance as she suddenly discovers she is very ill.

“I myself was ignorant of what these people go through and didn’t want to be around them,” Arias said. “I wanted to break the stereotypes surrounding those who are ill.”

Arias had a challenging time collecting stories from actual people, but those who were willing to talk to him had their names changed for the script.

A topic that strikes close to home for many students on campus is the feelings of first generation college students.

With his story Kevin Greene, junior theater arts major, is focusing on these feelings with “The Weight on My Shoulders.” The piece covers the disadvantages that are faced by being the first in your family to go to college.

“I wanted to do this project because I am a first generation student,” Greene said. “Both of my parents are advocates for education and wanted me to surpass the stereotypes and are very supportive of me.”

Greene’s piece uses several feelings of first generation students like guilt, confusion, fear and excitement.

Each of his four main characters are combinations of these types of reactions and share the testimonies of actual people.

Both of these pieces took the combined testimonies of different people to create the play.

All of the pieces in this performance are meant to make the audience think and look at the issues that are dismissed or ignored in a different light.

The finale of the program promises to be an interesting experience for the audience.

Taking place outside on blankets, “Tipping Point,” produced by sophomore theater major Teresa Beardsley, pushes the topic of protest into the face of the audience.

Beardsley’s play presents the four main characters’ who represent the personalities of protest.

“Originally protests in Egypt sparked the idea but it took its own shape after that” Beardsley said. “I want people to take the story and think that they can handle their issues.”

Thier passion for standing up for what they believe in ends the show in a way that promises to leave a deep impression on the thoughts of the audience.

The “Power of Hope” opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Dailey Theatre. Admission is free.

Christina Collins Burton can be reached at christina.burton@laverne.edu.

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