The Crescent Players tackle dark realities in “Polaroid Stories”
Greg Gagliardi – Special to the Southern News
“Polaroid Stories,” is the most recent play performed by Sothern’s ensemble theater group, the Crescent Players. “Polaroid Stories,” is originally by Naomi Iizuka, adapted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and directed at Southern by Raphael Massie.
The play is quite complex. According to director Massie, original playwright Naomi Iizuka takes stories from Greek Mythology, and re-imagines them through the eyes of homeless teens in a modern adaption. Her tale works on three levels: the world of Greek mythology, the fictional setting of the play, and actual stories from the real-life prostitutes and street kids.
The play does not hold back on any taboo topics. Prostitutes and drug use are shown in a realistic manner alongside grime content. Greek mythology is used to explore these topics and show them in non-generalized sense. The idea of putting 90s back alley debauchery combined with Greek Mythology is not easy, and too many it can seem far off.
But director Massie emphasized that the adaption style would draw students in. He mentioned that playwright Iizuka did actual interviews with homeless teens and prostitutes. The realistic element translated well for the audience. Junior, Katelin Adintori, said “the play wasn’t light, but it was honest. It was refreshing to see students tackle a play that exposes dark truths.”
Associate Sound Designer James T. McLoughlin said, “you will see crack use, and pimps, but none of this is done to mock anybody. This play takes place in the 90s when this was almost the norm to some people. We wanted to emphasize that in the time before many southern students were acclimated to the world, dark things were happening. It’s important to bridge the gap for students. In today’s social world, with a polarizing election having just taken place. I think it’s important for students, and actors to have reflection.”
The theme of reflection was done to the 10s by the actors and actresses. The leads included senior theater major Briana Bauch, transfer student Betzabeth Castro, senior communication major Cantrell Cheeks, sophomore theater major Carter Cooke, graduating senior Ben Cooperman, junior business management major Eric Clinton, theater alumni from Housatonic Community College James Hall, current freshman Erin MacLeod, and senior Kiernan Norman.
Each aforementioned actor played a Grecian God. Each god depicts a homeless person, prostitute, or drug addict. Some represent all three. A common thread amongst the male roles was the reference to “being a god”. As the play progressed the theme became more apparent. Each time a male character was struggling with self-identity after being asked by their female counterpart “who are you, for real?” The answer was always “a god.” Each character wanted to be a god and wanted power. In essence, they wanted what they didn’t have.
Each time “a god” was said, it was never spoken, but rather yelled. Cantrell Cheeks’ character, D, is the first to do so. He bellows for the entire audience to hear “I am god” when he’s questioned by Ben Cooperman characters, Skinhead a.k.a Oklahoma Boy.
For these homeless teens, it wasn’t about having your friend hear you, but rather the world. But the world didn’t listen. Aside from riveting acting and precise directing, the best thing about “Polaroid Stories” is that it shows us how cold the world can be, even to a bunch of teenagers.
Photo Courtesy: SCSU Crescent Players