Theater Spotlight: #lolracism

On March 15th, I had the opportunity to catch a performance of #lolracism, a play created by three students. The play comprised of different skits, monologues and audience participation to address issues of racism, white supremacy and the emotional, physical, and spiritual violence that it enacts upon our bodies. I had the chance to ask some deeper questions about the performance and the process behind making it.

Pictured (Left to Right): Kellye, Maura & Ariana

Pictured (Left to Right): Kellye, Maura & Ariana

1) How did you conceptualize this performance? What inspired putting it together initially?

The performance was a response to a Bell Hooks essay that we all did individually for one another. From there we continued to construct off our reflections and would question one another, i.e. What does it mean to find spaces for this type of conversation about privilege, healing, compassion? What are our experiences with white supremacy? How do we talk about race with one another without shame? Thankfully, Maura had a senior project for the theater school so we began crafting!

2) How was the audience reception on individual show nights & collectively?

It was totally dependent on who was in the audience. Our show the first night was really responsive and playful, but the second night it was a little bit more intense. We could see people becoming uncomfortable with the issues we were highlighting. You could definitely tell that this was the first time they were watching someone combat whiteness. The last night felt like the most balanced of reflection and understanding. It was a really amazing weekend. (I want to do it again already!)

3) How do you see the play expanding?

We discussed having a Q&A section after the show for those who wanted to process with us. We raise some really valid points about whiteness, the role that racism plays on social media, and systemic oppressive ideologies about otherness…so it is a lot to digest for those familiar with the issues or not. My hope is that we give people a chance to ask questions about our performance and how it indirectly or directly relates to white supremacy and racism.

4) What were the most difficult aspects of putting #lolracism together?

Kellye and Maura are amazing women to work with and super supportive/affirming so it made it a really amazing process. Other than that the hardest part was chugging that milk every damn time. Needless to say, I haven’t drunk milk since the last show.

5) Where did you draw inspiration for the title? Does it reference anything in particular?

We were sitting in my apartment thinking of race in our generation and totally just made it up. It embodies how we have conversation and really highlights the role race plays on social media.

6) Which scenes were the most meaningful to each of you individually and why?

This is a great question! We spent a lot of time on Twitter Gameshow together and because those tweets were real tweets, the skit was satirical but real. Maura and Kellye did tweet at the ‘troll’ one night during rehearsal. It still weirdly baffles me. Next in line would have to be my Say My Name monologue.  I spend a lot of time and energy correcting people when they address me and I usually get the most flack when I do it to people in positions of power like a teacher! The monolgue really addresses my frustrations with people appropriation their whiteness onto all this Mexican/puertorican-ness.

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