FSC Theatre is reinventing the theatrical experience with its next show, “Oedipus Rex.” The show has been adapted for a “mockumentary” format and has been renamed “The Oedipus Project.” The word to describe this production is “unconventional.”
“Our director, Mary T. Albright, the creative staff, and I came to the decision that recording our rehearsals over Zoom and putting them together in a big news interview-esque piece would be a very fun format to use,” stage manager and senior Taylor D’Onofrio said. “The actors rehearse the script that Mary T. has written, and then I film them when they feel good about it and are ready to be filmed. I am so grateful to be able to work on a production like this, because this might be how a lot of productions in our near future look like.”
Not only is the formatting something different; its cast is also something special.
Recently, the FSC Theatre Department was under fire for the lack of diversity in their productions. Over the summer, there was an open letter written to FSC signed by the Black Student Union, The Multicultural Student Council and their allies about their concerns regarding diversity. The letter specifically called out the theater department.
“The theatre department continually typecasts and limits Black students to servants and slaves,” the letter said.
This criticism did not go unnoticed, as the casting for “The Oedipus Project” is much more diverse than productions the department has put on in the past.
FSC junior Trinity Yarid was cast in the titular role of Oedipus. He has been extremely vocal about his concerns, due to the lack of diversity on campus as an African American student.
“When coming to Florida Southern, I was very alarmed to learn that I was the only African American male in my department, and I have been for three years,” Yarid said. “I’ve noticed that the shows being picked out weren’t made for someone like me to be performing in.”
Yarid shared similar sentiments to the open letter, commenting that he was warned on his first day as a freshman that he would most likely be typecast due to his race.
“I was cast as a ‘helper’ for my first show,” Yarid said. “I am always grateful to be cast in anything, but it was hard inviting my family to a show where I was cast as a slave.”
This echoes the concerns laid out by the open letter.
“I don’t think anyone in the theatre department is racist,” Yarid said. “I think we all are a family and try our hardest to fix the internal issues, but I do think we have an issue of ignorance. Sometimes I feel like the issue of diversity isn’t properly understood. Students are scared to speak their mind, and because of this, nothing changes.”
His comments don’t come without a solution. Yarid called for the theatre department to listen to its minority students.
The biggest issue highlighted by Yarid is the silence he feels minority students have been forced into. He is adamant that there are people in the department that want to see change, professors included.
“I believe our school should strive to show the diversity we do have so we could have more POC students in the future,” Yarid said. “That way, the lack of diversity wouldn’t be as big of an issue.”
“The Oedipus Project” encompasses all that is new and changing this semester. There is no better way to usher in a new era than by working to fix destructive habits. This change is important and will work to make sure everyone at FSC is seen and heard.