Monday, January 19, 2015

Review of Eclectic Theatre's Spinning Into Butter

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Spinning Into Butter. It was by Rebecca Gilman and directed by Andrew Pond. And it was about a woman named Sarah Daniels (Jessica Lauren Fisher) who worked at a college that was mostly white people. And the big thing that happens at the start of the story is that there is this African-American student who is having racist notes put up on his door. And Sarah is put in charge of the student affairs and so she has to help him with what is going on. And she as a white person doesn't really know what to do at first except say, "racism is bad, you are on your own now." She doesn't do that, but it is hard for her not to just do that. And Burton Strauss (David Blew) is bossing Sarah around and saying that he hates racism but then he is just talking about how racism is bad and he doesn't give any ideas to people or listen to what black people have to say. I really liked this show. I thought it was very interesting in the way they talked about race, not like some other plays where they just talk like the people do in this play and say "Racism is bad" and then they are just like "That is all I have to say." By the end Sarah learns that she may be a racist but at least she can listen to black people and not just talk for them. I know some of you are saying, "But you are a white person, Ada Grey." But I think this play is aimed at white people to make them be able to just sit next to a black person on the train, and to realize that black people aren't all the same and they don't all think about themselves in the same way. I think that people should definitely go see this show. I thought it was a very interesting show and I liked it.

I liked all the students, even the one you don't see, Simon, who basically the whole play is about. It makes me feel like, why if it is all about racism, why not have the African-American character make an appearance? I thought it would be a great idea to have a play from Simon's perspective because then you would know why he felt like he had to do these things, which I cannot say what they are--don't worry, I'm not just being unspecific. Patrick Chibas (Rolo Rodriguez) was a Nuyorican man whose race was not on the scholarship form. And so he had to go in and talk to Sarah and how it wasn't on there and how he circled other. He felt like, why is my race not accepted and also she said that the people who were the scholarship advisers were old and had an old view of the world. I think he seemed like a very strong character because he does not let people walk all over him. He stands up for what he and his parents want. There was another student, Greg Sullivan (Jonathan Helvey), and he was a white student from Connecticut but he wanted to make this club called "Students for Tolerance" that seemed to be about white students pouring out their feelings. And that name just already gives off a bad odor because whites aren't supposed to "tolerate" black people. You should be like, "that is my friend, we should talk." But I didn't think that guy is just a jerk because you see that he is trying.

Sarah and Ross (Patrick Iven) were sort of a couple but then the thing was they weren't dating each other because they were each other's type but because they wanted it to seem like they weren't just loners. But then she gets super mad at Ross when his old girlfriend comes back. I have seen a relationship like this in another play about schools, Exit Strategy by Ike Holter. So I think that things like that must happen a lot in schools since people write about them in plays about schools so much. I think Sarah actually found a love for Ross while they were together even though it seemed like she wasn't in love with him. Then they remain friends even after they broke up. When he talks to her it feels like he is giving advice to his wife or girlfriend or something, not just to a friend. When he talks to her about racism, he says that he thinks that even if we are all a little bit racist that doesn't make it right. I think it inspires her to do something good at the end of the play. I won't tell you what that good thing is because it would ruin the entire play.

I thought that the actors who play Dean Catherine Kenney (Lisa Savegnago) and Burton Strauss did a great job of making you hate the characters because the characters were insensitive and by the push of a button they could never want to see another African-American person again and by the push of another button they could be like, African-American people are amazing! Burton Strauss is saying that Simon is a con-artist, but the thing is, Simon couldn't understand himself. You'll find out more what I mean when you see the show. They handle the situation by just blaming it on someone else. They don't say, "I'm sorry, that was me. I made a mistake." They are like, "That is all her fault" or "That is all his fault." And that is not a good way to run a school. Basically the opposite of these two people, is Mr. Myers (David Elliott), who is the school guard. He is one of the most kind-hearted people there and he doesn't just learn about African-American people like Sarah did when she was in college. Instead he listens to what everyone has to say. And he learns from that so then he can understand people better. What really showed his kindness was, when he went to go and give a student a ride home, he just asked if he was hungry and he was, so they just went to dinner at a burger place together. He wasn't just doing his job; he was treating him like he was a friend, not like he was just a student he was giving a ride home.

People who would like this show are people who like interesting and awesome plot twists, understanding yourself and other people better by watching a show, and burgers. I think people should definitely go see this show. I think it is one of the most interesting and mind-puzzling shows I have ever seen. It made me think about how other people see me if I just walk past them.

Photos: LaToya Thorn

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