Theater Arts Presents One-Act Collection by Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks – Sonoma State Star


The Theater Arts Department presented a collection of one-act plays titled “365 Days / 365 Plays” by acclaimed playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The performances were broadcast virtually from November 4 to 7. The 18 pieces chosen for these performances reflect the concepts of beginning, middle and end.

Between 2002 and 2003, Parks took on the challenge of writing one play per day for an entire year. “[The plays] touch on rampant capitalism, identity, bigotry and the human search for meaning. [Parks’] a year’s humanity review reveals something that is never perfect, but always strives, ”director Danielle Cain wrote on the show’s schedule.

“[Cain] chose the specific pieces of this show and shaped them to highlight some of the issues that we see every day in society. From racism to police brutality and abuse of power, to mentions of drug use and allusions to abusive relationships, ”wrote Annaliese Van Sickle, a third year in theater arts, in an e- mail.

“As a director, I had the opportunity to put on shows during the summer. We chose Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 Days / 365 Plays because it is crucial that students hear and consider the experiences of color playwrights. Parks writes with compassion, humor and insight about life in America. The collage aspect of the piece lends itself to some interesting casting options and the use of digital backgrounds, ”Cain wrote in an email.

“This show was intended [to evoke] a response that surrounded the discomfort and further reflection on the state of our world right now. Throughout the play we made a statement in so few words, ”Van Sickle wrote.

The play included a variety of features that would not have been possible with traditional theater in person. The video recording and streaming format allowed performers to use green screen and sound effects to emphasize the work of the actors.

Cain explained how they choose which productions to edit during the semester: “Some things the department considers are acting and design challenges for the students, how the shows correlate with the department’s program, how they will serve the SSU’s wider audience and how a play relates to current events. Cain also mentioned that the department is looking for “Immediacy, challenges, variety, [and] fun ”when deciding what entertainment options to offer.

“I loved working on this show! After doing zoom theater for a year and a half, there was a deep desire to finally be back on a stage of any kind while playing with my peers… ”Van Sickle continued.

Mariah Forster, a third-year communications major, shared her thoughts on working on this piece in an email: “My experience working on this show has been positive. The first day I came to rehearse, our director Danielle and all the cast were very welcoming. They made me feel like I belonged to the show and that my opinions matter, which I really appreciated.

The sense of community found in the SSU drama department is shared by other actors in this play, such as third year theater major Daija Temple, who said in an email, “It was my first show. at Sonoma State, so I curious what we were going to do, but I really enjoyed the work I did. Danielle and Gabe (the directors) did a really good job of making everyone feel comfortable and have a good time.

To learn more about what the SSU theater community has to offer, visit the department’s website at theatreartsanddance.sonoma.edu.


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