Play enlivens theater, hits major issues
Show highlights topics affecting local students
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 19:05
The drama department’s production “This Land is My Land” portrayed some of America’s current problems through song and dance in the department’s last play of the spring semester at the Knox Center, May 2 to 6.
Written by Contra Costa College students, it was directed by drama department Chairperson Clay David and assistant director Kathryn G. McCarty.
There were seven themes presented in the play — among them poverty, education, unemployment, homelessness, injustice toward women, violence, human rights and hope.
The first scene talked about poverty, and the entire cast started off strong by singing to musician Aloe Blacc’s song “I Need a Dollar.”
The lyrics harbor the tone of overcoming obstacles while experiencing life at a low income level. Yet the lively jazz beats and dancing added a bittersweet taste to the scene.
The best scene in the play was about education.
The students created a fictitious game show called “The Game of Life” and began by showing statistical information about how Hercules High School, Richmond High School, Middle College High School and Miramonte High School in Orinda placed by test score among other high schools in the state.
The respective grades the schools received were D+, F, B and A.
Students from these schools then began to find their places after high school, many of them having to go to community college to further their educations due to lack of financial stability and their non-acceptance to four-year universities.
Creating the stage to symbolize the difficulty of getting into necessary classes, and how many students are not eligible for financial aid, the game show captured a perspective many college students deal with through dark humor.
The main student-performers for the skit, Alex Tucker and Jacob Manibusan, spoke loudly and projected believable personalities as hosts of the show.
Actor Zadia Saunders created laughs among the audience when she announced the ridiculous consolation prizes of fabric softener and chicken nuggets for students who couldn’t advance further in the community college system.
The play also referred to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Florida, but it didn’t fit with the education segment.
There was no explanation as to why this was necessary to include in the production.
A young man wearing a hoody is shot, but he stands up again and then Manibusan quickly reassures everyone he is alive and said, “Don’t worry everyone; it’s only a flesh wound.”
This segment, less than two minutes long, was completely random and some seated patrons spoke under their breaths of how unfunny and offensive it was.
The transition between different topics was swift as the storyline included many of the problems affecting the West County community in a tight time frame.
However, this also posed a problem because the topics, while all very relevant and important, felt muddled together and made the show’s content a bit congested. Audience members did not have time to digest the issues.
As a result, the play lacked focus with all the topics it covered.
All of the scenes were good and thought-provoking, and some even provided an abundant amount of information, making this play not only captivating, but also a lesson for students and their community members.