This past Friday Geneseo's Brodie Black Box Theatre hosted a production entitled Stop the War by Suzan-Lori Parks from her 365 Days/365 Plays play cycle.
Parks began this immense project in November 2002, writing one play per day for an entire year. Her accomplishment is now being celebrated in the form of, as she put it in the program, "A simultaneous world premiere shared by many theatres in several different cities." Currently, a major theater will perform one of these plays per day until all are done, a process that began last November and will continue until November of this year.
The Black Box opened for seating to an eager line of people awaiting the chance to see this once in a lifetime show as performed by the students of Geneseo. All seats had been removed from the Black Box, leaving audience members to situate themselves on the floor along with several secretly placed members of the cast.
A complete blackout signaled the show's beginning, then senior Joan Monplaisir ran onto the floor begging fellow cast members occupied by such activities as listening to music, reading tabloids, or using a cell phone to stop and listen to her because they were "running out of time." One especially striking figure that she pleaded to was junior Abby Krai, wrapped in an American flag that reached all the way down to the floor. This figure reappeared several times throughout the play, and was the most compelling and symbolic of all the characters.
Following this scene, the cast members in the audience stood up and began to chant "No war!" as they walked around the seated viewers. A mock talk show then began during which they asked questions about this unspecified war such as "Was it as beautiful as you hoped it would be?" They then turned over white cards bearing simple but frightening pictures of war including a crying face, a gun, and a dead body, among others.
Other random scenes followed creating a patchwork of American history and culture. Two marines onboard a boat watched a bombing of "the enemy" and cried out, "These colors don't run!" In another skit, one cast member portrayed an actor pretending to be Abraham Lincoln by wearing a fake beard and an Uncle Sam hat, with his wife Mary Todd nearby as a bird in a gilded cage. Again, the woman wrapped in a flag appeared after this scene claiming that "she didn't know us and didn't care."
The show concluded with all of these scenes occurring at the same time in different parts of the theater producing a tumult of sound and images, until everything finally silenced and a single green light shown on Krai then faded to darkness.
Other theatrical productions for the remainder of the semester can be found at http://www/bbo.geneseo.edu