Upcoming Spring Play explores American racial tensions


Actors in Every 28 Hours perform a preview at the MLK Assembly on Jan. 19. They debuted a small number of their short scenes, including the one shown above, which featured a student demanding racially unbiased teaching in a classroom. MAYA MORRIS/SAGAMORE STAFF

Josh Fleishman, Staff Writer

Every 28 hours, a person of color is killed by a vigilante, security guard or police officer.  This highly contested statistic, from a 2012 study by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, is the foundation that supports the 2017 Spring Play, aptly titled Every 28 Hours.

The show itself is a collection of one-minute plays that examine this issue from a range of different perspectives.

According to director and drama teacher Summer Williams, the play attempts to open the eyes of the audience and community by displaying a wide variety of sides.

“It uses the point of view of people who might be victimized, from the mothers who have lost children, from the point of view of the police, of young people,” said Williams. “The goal of that is for people to have an experience that is gratifying and to help express something that seems like it’s far away, especially being in Brookline, but actually has a profound effect on all of us.”

Senior Sarah Simon also agrees that the extensive range of topics plays an important role in the audience’s understanding.

“Some are really comedic, some are more serious, some are really matter of fact, some are really stylized,” Simon said. “They’re all different subject matter, but related to that issue.”

The play was crafted after a 2014 trip to Ferguson, Missouri by actors, artists, writers and activists after the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. According to Williams, the trip’s goal was to find out what was going on in Ferguson and examine its effects across the United States.

The show features 17 actors from the high school, but is also inviting staff members to come and participate in the finale piece.

Junior Courtney Lima said that she feels passionate about the message the play gives out and she hopes it reaches all types of people.

“I feel like everyone needs to realize that things that aren’t right are always going on, and if you see something that isn’t right, you should say something,” Lima said.

Lima and Simon both have very different roles in the play. Since each skit is only one minute long, there is ample opportunity to test actors’ versatility and flexibility as the conditions of their skit change.

“An example of one of my roles is a girl who is having a phone conversation with her two friends after there has been a shooting in her neighborhood, and in another I am the mother of an all white family, so my parts vary a lot,” Simon said.

Williams said she believes the play should inspire the community to make everyone feel comfortable.

“There’s a way in which people feel unsafe, there’s a way in which people feel uncared for and we don’t want anyone in our community to feel that way.”

Simon agreed that it is important to discuss racial issues in Every 28 Hours through this lens.

“It’s an issue that’s not going away,” Simon said, “And it’s not going to go away unless we do something.”

The Spring Play Every 28 Hours debuts on March 8. in the Black Box at 3:30 p.m.