POST: 'Veritas' - the struggle of identity

Photo by Joshua Paul Johnson

Photo by Joshua Paul Johnson

What's it about?

Nine Harvard students face the consequences of their sexuality. Some were put on trial, others ridiculed, others committed suicide. These nine students face what it means to be loyal to one another while discovering their sexuality through parties at one student's room until Harvard gets word of it.

What did I experience?

Picking up my long board, I headed into St. George's Church. 
"Hey are you here for the play?"
"right this way."
I went down a creepy dim hall with dim candles to guide the way. Creepy. I felt like people were gonna pull out a oujia board and start playing it.

"Jazmin L-u-p-e. Thanks."
"You can help yourself to some wine while you wait for your character to guide you to your seat."
Woah hold up, the actors are ushers? Triippppy. My usher card said George Wilcox played by Delance Minefee. On the card was a picture of an attractive African American... Wait till i have seen the show :o . I was shy to pour some wine until someone offered me. Why not? Italian wine for free, how can you turn down an offer. The room we waited in was called The Cave. It was dimly light and scary even talking to fellow audience members. Talking to strangers, the lighting cast shadows upon their faces as if they were holding up a flashlight under their chin. It was full of green secretary light stands, pictures of the actors, candles with wax overflowing on the table, and wine. Red wine that very much looked like blood when poured into your cup.

The wait was quiet long it took my actor/usher two wine glasses for him to finally seat our section. I couldn't help but to wonder how much rehearsal went into seating guests then being able to snap into your character so quickly.

As Delance ushered us into another room he explained that the set would double as a dorm room and another person's dorm room. He explained how we would start in that room then go back into the cave then back into the other room for the final scenes. Veryyyy interesting, I could already tell the evening would be splendid. He lead us to our seats and spoke a bit about the history of homosexuals in Harvard. 

We got to our seats and my glass was empty so, hello glass number three - which Delance poured for me. In the theatre, the audience was on all sides. There was a bed on stage with a white sheet and pillow. They also had different set ups in the crevices of the audience sections. Those made us contort our bodies to see the action  and it even went so far as to the bathroom the audience uses. So unique, I fell in love.

After using the bathroom, I stepped in the space to find all the actors in the corners of the room whispering Ssssssirus. I thought at first they were trying to shush me that the show was about to start. lol. It turns out Sirus was a roommate who had committed suicide. We don't have a clue why yet. But they all gather towards his bed where he once laid and they said creepy things in unison. 

The unique part was that there is a deaf actor. So he would use sign language while people talked in unison and if someone said something directly to him, they would sign it as well. It's interesting because just this weekend I said thank you to someone in ASL (American Sign Language). He was way more fluent in it then I was, I've forgot everything but he suggested that I brush up on it so we could do positive things with our knowledge of ASL. 

Another character that struck me interesting throughout the play was Joseph Lumbard (played by Marquis Rodriguez) -  he was the youngest of the actors and looked fresh out of school. He was interesting because his age almost correlated to his level of innocence - how naive he was to what was happening at the parties. His baby face held a curious look - I felt like his inner desire was conflicting with his outward actions. It made me feel how I am a lot of times in situations, the youngest one and the most naive. This leads to a struggle of identity in wanting to be more mature like your peers but keeping the same individualism that you hold in your soul. My birthday is December 26, five days before the year ends, so I  always feel the youngest.

Amir Watcherman playing Earnest Roberts was the most flamboyant character and was the one who held "faggot parties" in his room. He loved wine and making other people drunk to test their sexuality. This is what most people do at parties today, no discrimination to any sexual orientation. People will get you under the influence to test how far you will go when your inhibitions are at ease. I've had people tell me before you're not drunk, you're not gonna have fun. I'm just like no, because I'm not drunk your just not gonna have fun ;) with me. #StayPureMyFriends

We later moved into The Cave for the trial. The questions were absurd (which is a common thread in America, I guess - have you seen Allegiance?) "Have you performed any homosexual acts?" "When was the last time you masturbated?" and they stood in a triangular circle and lights flashed and their voices started sounding like broken records. It was creepy. And I'm like we in church omgggg, Lord help me. I actually missed my prayer service to come to the play, so I was really freaked out. The disorientation and chaos made me think of how mind boggling it would be to have to answer these questions - trying to search for the right answers so you don't sound queer.

I get it, it was the 1920's and homosexuality was a sin in religion, a crime in the law, and a sickness in the medical field. That's what the playbill says in the Dramaturg's note. Even the playbill itself was weird, no pictures of the actors, just names. How mysterious. I'm so glad we've come a long way but we still have a long way to go. Killing people or pushing them to the point of suicide for their sexual orientation is not okay.

Epiphany!! So verdad in Spanish means truth. So they are telling the truth of what happened to homosexuals in Harvard but not only that. They served us free wine because "En vino veritas," in wine there is truth. Very well played. I believe the concept is a testament to the company, The Representatives which I would love to see more shows by them.

After they take a bow, they said join us in the lobby. More free wine lolol. I got to speak to the young actor but couldn't stay long because I had a 9 page paper I hadn't started that was due tomorrow. So I looked for any random nearby train hopped on it and headed home. I walked in and was like "Omggg the play was so good." and my sister was like "You want me to make tacos, I have everything prepared?"
Best night in a long time.


Want to see it?

$18 tickets

@ The Cave at St. George's
thru Nov. 7