Hands up. Don’t shoot.
This post was written by Lauren Burns, a sophomore Multiplatform Journalism and History double major.
The deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, among others, remind us that our country has much to do in terms of reconciling our nation’s past sins with its present.
The play never lost focus of its message: freedom isn’t free, and not all Americans have the same amount of freedom, if any at all.
The School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies’ Collidescope explores race and America from an alien perspective. Literally. In a series of vignettes, alien beings explore the history of race relations in the United States, from the days leading up to the Revolutionary War to the present. The play was created and co-written by Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks and performed by a 13-member cast composed of TDPS students and alumni.
The set in the Kogod Theatre was minimalistic, allowing the cast to be the audience’s focus. Visuals projected onto the walls of the box platform included the date, time and location of each historic event, so that the audience had an idea of what was to come.
From a South Carolina ball on the eve of President Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860 to a working class family in Chicago in 1939 desperate for a break, the play never lost focus of its message: freedom isn’t free, and not all Americans have the same amount of freedom, if any at all.
Korinn Walfall’s biting performance as Fannie Lou Hamer testifying before the Democratic National Convention’s Credentials Committee in the summer of 1964 was a high point of the play, as well as a black man (Philip Kershaw) posing as a female housekeeper in a white family’s 1939 Chicago home.
The first scene of Collidescope shows the dead body of a young black man on the ground and ends with a makeshift memorial, full of flowers and posters. Collidescope forces the audience to think about prejudice and the ugly history of race in the United States. The play makes a statement—one used by those in Ferguson and echoed elsewhere around the world—No justice, no peace.