Crescent Players get dystopian with new show ‘Civil’
Ali Fernand – Features Editor
In a world of ever-growing technology, there will be new ethical dilemmas that humans will have to weigh. This is exactly what the Crescent Player’s upcoming show, “Civil,” will explore.
“It is a courtroom-drama set in a bizarre and dystopian future,” professor of theatre and Director of “Civil” Ben Curns said.
This show contains two Acts, each about a different court case. Both acts deal with ethical dilemmas that surround nonexistent technology. For the duration of the show, the audience will act as a jury. Then at the end of each act they must decide the verdict.
“It’s two court cases, you go in, they present to you the facts, you make a decision, and you live with it,” Assistant Stage Manager Allen McKeever said.
Traditionally, a jury makes decisions in a courtroom; they are unbiased and must make decisions with the information they are provided. There is information purposefully left out regarding the laws in this dystopian future to prevent bias in the audience.
Since these are all scenarios that have never happened before, the audience comes in without bias. This makes it so the audience must contemplate opinions they have never thought about before.
“The issues being presented in this show are not things that are happening, so it’s a safe way to consider ‘would I advocate for this?’” Stage Manager Cameron Muñez said.
The show contains five characters: Red, Blue, Green, Orange and The Cursor. The characters are all named after colors, except for The Cursor. The Cursor is one actor who takes on the role of the judge and the lawyer on both sides of each case. The remaining characters are the people involved in the case.
“I’m a stand-in for real people in a real scenario, so you don’t have prejudice” said Erieana Papano who plays the character Orange.
The actors have the same name throughout the whole show. However, they take on a new role in each act. There are two different stories being told, but the actors and names stay consistent throughout.
The first act involves a young couple who conceived a child but were not yet ready to take on the responsibility of raising a child. There is a technology that exists for them to keep the fertilized egg viable for 15 years in case they decide they would like to have the baby in the future. However, they have since separated and the case focuses on the custody battle between the past couple.
“Act I is the case between Green vs. Red and my character is fighting to get her baby back,” said Abby Boyle who plays the character Green.
Green is the mother of the child and Red is the father. Red has since remarried and is fighting to be able to raise the child as their own.
The second act is about a murder that occurs. Blue is the victim of this murder, and his consciousness has been transferred to a “hyper-corporeal unit.” This is a technology that allows for a dead person’s consciousness to be transferred to a synthetic person. The murderer, Orange, is placed on death row and wishes to be transferred to this synthetic existence. The battle is between Blue and Orange to decide if Orange should have the right to be transferred.
“It definitely has a Black Mirror vibe, a Twilight Zone vibe, even a Law & Order vibe,” Curns said.
“Civil” combines both sci-fi elements and courtroom-drama elements. The show also includes “commercial breaks” where the actors break out into a skit. This will happen in the middle of the cases and the same actors that are a part of the case will be the ones acting in the commercials.
This is the second show being put on this semester following “Once on this Island.”
“Idealistically, I’d love for this to be an opportunity for people to explore changing their opinions,” Muñez said.