On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, I had the opportunity to attend “The New Faces of America” event taking place at WUC, in the Pacific Room. According to the WOU website, this event was described as a “one-woman show that showcases the diverse stories of young Americans and the issues that concern them. This is a thought provoking presentation-featuring characters of different backgrounds”.
The characters presented included a young, black man, a southern gay minister, a female biracial college student, a Native American teenager, a young female veteran from the Iraq war, and a girl with autism. Also, my parents were visiting this day and I asked them to come along and experience the event with me. I was not sure how they would react but at the end, my parents kept urging me to ask questions when it came down to the discussion at the end of the performance.
And while each of the characters presented made a great point, some of my favorite characters included the Native American teenager, the female biracial college student, and the girl with autism. Something about each of these characters really ‘touched’ me. For instance, it was eye-opening to hear the Native American teenager talk about the issue of suicide amongst many tribes in relation to alcohol, drugs, and other problems. Back in Eastern Oregon, there is a reservation close by to where I live, and I would always hear people discuss the issue of alcohol and Native Americans. In that sense, this performance put things into perspective for me.
The character of the female biracial college student was also quite interesting because she spoke about various stereotypes surrounding biracial people, especially when paired with being a college student and a single mother. And to be honest, I enjoyed the fact that this character spoke Spanish! And lastly, the character of the girl with autism was important to me because of the word ‘retard’. I do not like this word and I do not like when others use this word either, so I am glad that this character really drove the point home of not using the word retard, because you never know who you will be offending.
While I would have enjoyed a Mexican immigrant character or someone of Mexican background, I think that this overall performance was amazing, considering that, only one actor was taking on the job of acting six roles! I would also like to point out that Will and Company are doing a great job of creating characters that go against the ‘norm’ because while many believe that the United States is a ‘melting pot’, it has been proven that our country is not colorblind. So, when performances like these bring awareness to the issues that people of different backgrounds face in today’s world.
And in case you are interested, I will leave the link to the Will and Company page, so you can check out other performances and characters that they portray! http://willandcompany.com/
By Antonia Rojas