Detroit native Nykia Taylor is a senior marketing major with a minor in theatre. But her minor became major when she directed Oleanna, one of the one-act plays presented April 27-29 in Dunbar Hall.Oleanna was written by David Mamet and first premiered in 1992. It is based upon a power struggle between university professor John (Jonathan Jackson) and one of his female students, Carol (Trichia Cadette), who accuses him of sexual exploitation, which could possibly spoil his chances of being awarded tenure. The title comes from a folk song that refers to an escapist vision of utopia.
As soon as the curtains opened and the people took the stage, the audience was put on an emotional rollercoaster that lasted the whole way through. The scenes were so intense, you couldn’t help but be drawn in with your own set of emotions as well. John and Carol’s emotional battle kept the audience intrigued and on the edge of their seats.
The climax of the play came when John had just about had enough of Carol’s intolerable behavior and slapped her on-stage. It was all downhill from there. He went from slapping to choking her, throwing her down on the floor and kicking her while she was down. All that could be heard throughout the audience was a sea of gasps.
This play was made for the audience to interact with its performers, and that is exactly what happened.
The second play of the night was directed by Chris Champion, a senior theatre major originally from Shreveport but who grew up in Dallas. Champion cast Markesha Warner, Diedre Gilbert, Andrew Smith, Danyelle Wysinger, Dale Nelson, Kayla Williams, Justin Navarre, Emmanuel Fortune, David Muganza, and Omar Johnson for this play. All of the characters came from different parts of the world to express one commonality, I am American.
I am American is a depiction about different people talking about life stories and the places they came from that brought them to the land they call their home, America. They came from all over, places such as New Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, just to name a few.
This particular play gave you a greater appreciation of where you came from, and the journey your ancestors came to get you here. It was a diverse cultural experience, and even a brief history session. The characters talked about their stories, which included monumental parts in history, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act that took place in 1943, the Holocaust and even the German Industrial Revolution.
The last play of the Tuesday night offerings was directed by Antoinette Little called Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf. Alicia Liddell, senior music performance major, and Bernita Hillard, junior biology major, were the main characters of the play that portrayed the distressed girls.
Both ladies gave in-depth insight on their lives and the different situations that they were going through to cause them to feel the way they did. It showed how women can go through a lot in their lives and manage somehow to come out of the problem on top – or at least try their hardest in doing so.