What's it about?
Four African American actors in Room 4 trying out for the same drug dealer role... once again.
What'd I experience?
It's Tuesday!!! The T-Mobile Tuesday app is the greatest thing created , free stuff just for using the app. While I'm in class I check the app to look for what can I get for free… a 6-inch foot long at Subway! I get out and run out as fast as I could to Subway because I didn’t want to be late for the show, but suddenly I realize I forgot my umbrella in class… I run back again and thankfully no one stole it. I mean it is a criminal justice school. This time it's the final run, I’m sweating at this point, probably smelling like a wet dog and all I'm thinking about is how amazing this sandwich is about to taste. I'm starving.
When I get to Subway the worker tells me they ran out of free sandwiches... I could just hear someone narrating my life "At this moment, Arturo's heart was broken". Back at it again, I’m running towards the train station and make it to the theater in one piece; with enough time to settle my poor stomach. I bought a burrito.
The venue looked really dope, the bar was the first thing that caught my attention. I don't drink but I felt really cool sitting across from it. The waiting game begins… and I can only look around. When they finally open doors, I'm not ashamed to say that I pushed a couple of people so I’d catch a good seat. With full stomach and at front row, life couldn't get any better at that point… Jesus take me now!!
A simple set, one table and four chairs. I immediately noticed that all of the four main characters were African American. It was honestly refreshing to me. Most of the plays I've seen have always had a white cast. Coming from a minority community, seeing African American actors makes me think about the diversity that needs to happen in the theater world so more young people might be interested in attending shows.
The first words that I heard were "Not again with these fucking drug dealer roles" and I felt a raging feeling. At the same time this made me think about the movie Hollywood Shuffle. It's about the film industry and how minorities are displayed in movies, using comedy and satire to express these issues. The characters in the movie had their own little acting community, where they would go to auditions together. This leads to them realizing they have been trying out for acting roles where African American men are viewed negatively. When trying out for these roles the community becomes closer because they know one day, being "drug dealer number 2" won't be an option.
The funniest part of the play was when the characters realized that they were in a time loop, auditioning for the same typical role almost every African American auditions for... *drum roll* the drug dealer. What really brought me to tears was that the role they were actually going for was the FRIEND of the drug dealer. A brilliant twist, I think you could hear my laugh all the way in Brooklyn.
Being that I'm a light-skinned Dominican with a slight accent (once in a while), this moment made me think about the type of roles I’d be cast in. Would I be the typical Puerto Rican character who acts crazy and speaks Spanglish? Or the Latino who is involved in a gang selling drugs? These questions played in my head throughout the show, I didn’t know a comedy could end up making me think so much. A part of me was mad because I came out of school and thinking was the last thing I wanted to do at a theater show, but another part of me was glad because it opened my eyes to the type of roles minorities play on tv/film.
As the characters over and over and over played the "drug dealer number 2" role they started to realize enough is enough. This moment seeing four African American men stand up and say "enough is enough" gave me goosebumps because I knew in that moment being drug dealer number 2 wasn’t sufficient.