On Friday, September 29th, I had my very first Performing Arts Journalism gig for the Daily Aztec. The production I covered was a play written by award winning Naomi Iizuka of University of California San Diego.
IT WAS AMAZING!
I arrived to the theatre to pick up my tickets and let them know I was there and ready to start the interviews whenever they were. I waited for a bit on a bench until a stage manager came and told me the director was ready to speak with me (eek)! Saying I was nervous was a major understatement. I pulled up my notes about the director for the millionth time to make sure I had everything straight.
Randy Reinholz is one of the nicest people I have ever met. The interview was great! He really opened up and gave me a lot of information about the play. I asked Reinholz why they chose Anon(ymous) for this semester and he said it really was a no-brainer. “It just made sense to do this production given our current political divide on immigration and refugee policies,” Reinholz explained.
Regardless your political standpoint, there is no denying that refugees are real, and they do have stories to tell. In Anon(ymous) the focus is on a teenage boy, Anon, who escaped his country that was taken over by war. While leaving on a ship they encountered a storm and most people on board drowned, but he was able to swim to the nearest island. The play shows life after this event in Anon’s world and in his mothers. They both long to be reunited with the other, but both accepted the other had most likely died. The play continues to follow them on their path to find eachother again, which they eventually do.
The struggles of the refugees that were included in the play were heartbreaking. I had chills consistently through the entire night, and audience members around me were shedding tears.
One of my favorite things I found out from the interviews was that the San Diego Refugee Community came to the last dress rehearsal to have a special viewing of the show. The cast members I interviewed, Brian Ting and Thomas Block, said that this was such a special moment with the refugee community. They laughed, they cried, and they were given insight on how to make play even more real.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it may seem some what politically biased. However in my opinion, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, good theatre is good theatre.
Can’t wait to see what is next!
Photos courtesy of Ken Jacquez