POST: FringeNYC's 'Colorblind'd' - this started an inner conflict
My eyes squinted open at 10:00 a.m, on a summer day and the first thing I thought was that it should be illegal to wake up so early during summer vacation. Then I started wondering if the play Colorblind'd was really worth going to. The only thing that I really knew about it was that it was about a white woman being cast in a play to as Rosa Parks - I wasn't really one to be interested in theatre so I was wondering if choosing to go see Colorblind'd was a good choice.
My doubts about the play loomed over my head like a dark cloud until the very first lines of the play started. The first lines were said from the audience. I was held captive at that moment... and honestly regretted not sitting next to one of them. It's like the characters came with the motive to prove me wrong about the play! By the end, I walked out with a feeling of excitement surging through my veins and the urge to force a bunch of people to go see the play with me another time.
During the first scene Eden, one of the characters presented the idea that a character shouldn't be chosen for a play based on their skin tone but based on how well they act. When she said that line I felt like I could jump and scream "damn right!" But then something stopped inside of me when she showed the headshot of the character she chose, and I realized she was really white. This started an inner conflict that I couldn't explain. On one hand I still agreed with Eden but on the other hand, I felt like she just could not play Rosa Parks. But why? Was there a part of my heart that was rascist...?
Then we got introduced to Dorian, the black female that didn't get the part of Rosa Parks because she is a bad actor yet such a pure person. I felt even more conflicted! Because at that moment, I didn't care about how great of an actor Julie, the white female was because I just felt bad about Dorian. My one consolation was the fact that I didn't side with Dorian because she was black but because she was so working so hard to be an actor. I felt bad because she felt that Eden should have given her the part because Eden was black just like her and so people just assumed they were close because they had the same skin tone.
This portion of the play took me to a whole new reality-my reality. In my personal life growing up people often thought that because I was Haitian, I did voodoo. Similarly in the play, because Dorian was the only black female in her theatre class, it was automatically assumed that she would be Rosa Parks. Again, similarly to Dorian, I sometimes meet other Haitians and expect to be fast friends because we have the same nationality when in reality it should not be like that. If anyone told me that I should be good friends with someone because we share the same nationality I would have been mad but I was internally doing the same thing. How close a person's relationship is to another should not depend on skin tone, nationality, or other things. It should be about actually talking and building a relationship without setting skin tone, religion, and other things as factors that stop relationships from starting. The play was getting to me more than I could have ever expected.
By the end of the play I felt like I was on a sugar high. I literally wanted to call all the theatre lovers that I know and get them to watch the show so that I could have someone to talk to about it. When I was told that we would have the opportunity to ask the playwright, director, and actors questions, I was beyond happy. I would've rushed to the very front seat but I wanted to look cool and collected. I was the first to speak because I felt eager to let everyone that was part of the creation of the show know how much of a great job they did.
My favorite moment was the end because it was a quote by Rosa Parks told by Dorian, the black character. It was such a simple ending and in that moment it wasn't about how good of an actress Dorian was, it was just a moment where I realized Dorian wouldn't stop being pure in the world theatre. She would not be one to be tainted by ideologies like the ones that state one has to be a certain size, personality, style or look, in order to make it.
Through the Q&A session, I also learned that the plays central theme wasn't just about color but it was about egos. No one was right or wrong. In the beginning of the show, I was in fact looking for a villain and a hero but by the end I realized there wasn't any. It was just four people with egos. Four people that had four different ideas.
The play Colorblind'd made me think and ask a lot of questions. It wasn't just about a white actor playing Rosa Parks. It wasn't just about color. I don't really know how to describe what the play was about without asking myself a bunch of questions and wondering who was right. It was a play that went beyond the acting. It was a play that made my mind think outside of the show and into reality-my reality. It opened my eyes and made me realize that there are a lot of ideologies about race that people are afraid to talk about-that I'm afraid to talk about-because of my fear of confrontation or rejection. It made me realize that some little things that might not be offensive towards one race can be a really offensive and sensitive subject for other races. For all these realizations and eye-opening moments, I thank you Colorblind'd.
- Sara D.