Patriot Theatre Students Send Powerful Message to Community

Cast member Eric Gordon appears to be about to punch Megan Ferguson in this Tableau pose from "Twilight Los Angeles." (Photo Credit: Stacy Shaw)

By RENEE ORDOOBADI

Patriot High School theatre students performed “Twilight Los Angeles, 1992,” an alternative play that addressed loss, violence and racial issues Friday, February 15.

“Twilight,” originally written by Anna Deavere Smith, was meant to be a one-woman-act depicting the testimony of forty real people who dealt with the hardships from the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. In Smith’s performance she spoke the words of those forty individuals, assuming their identities.

Kathryn Facemire, Patriot High School’s theatre teacher, directed “Twilight” and boldly turned it into a one-act. The students who were not reciting their monologues created a tableau to visually portray the scenes for the audience.

Between each monologue the cast members wildly ran in different directions to possess the chaos going on in the victims’ lives. Then the stage lights would shut off and in solid colored shirts and black pants they held their positions – looking like statues – until the next monologue ended and they repeated the process.

“It never crossed my mind to have a small cast for this piece,” Facemire said. She felt that a wide range of cast members would be easier to adapt.

The cast of “Twilight” skillfully executed this difficult piece. It was especially impressive, considering the young cast did not live through the Rodney King Riots.

In addition, the monologues were not written for fictional characters, which put extra pressure on the cast to present it as accurately as possible.

“‘Twilight’ uses the art of acting as a way of promoting equality, humanity, and tolerance.  It is a good comparison to church music – we’re using acting to send a message,” said junior Carl Stover.

According to Facemire, the biggest struggle for the cast was creating tableaus in the dark; however, some students liked the challenge.

Cast photo of "Twilight Los Angeles, 1992" at Patriot High School. (Submitted by Patriot student.)

“I liked being in the tableaus. The learning process was the best part,” said sophomore Cicily Thomas.

In only thirty-five minutes, the cast of “Twilight” managed to convey the raw emotions of Rodney King riot victims.

And while it is highly uncommon to perform a play without dialogue, it worked for “Twilight” casts’ advantage. Although the chorus did not speak, spectators were able to recognize how the different ethnicities interacted in a given situation.

Facemire wanted to produce a message play that would teach her students something about recent history.

“I am most proud of how passionate the students were and how they got to communicate the message. This is an anti-race/violence piece. It’s not just a play to them; it is an opportunity to keep people more socially aware,” Facemire said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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