This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending Platanos y Collard Greens, an off-Broadway comedy and romance play. Even though I’m a senior, it was the first play that I’ve gone to at Siena in the Beaudoin Theatre. I went in knowing very little about the play itself, only that it was a comedy with the tagline, “A tale of secret lovers from different cultures, who fall in love at first sight, until Mom finds out and has a heart attack!”
Platanos y Collard Greens focuses on two college students, Freeman, an African-American man, and Angelita, a Dominican woman, who fall in love, despite Angelita’s mother’s wishes. Angelita’s mother, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City, is vehemently against her daughter marrying outside her race, and she is especially opposed because Freeman is African-American. Amidst the relationship issues, racial tensions, and generational differences, Freeman campaigns for student government president with his friend Malady and his cousin OK. Though the concept of Platanos y Collard Greens is in itself a heavy topic, the play is very funny. Freeman’s cousin OK had the audience roaring with laughter for the entire performance, delivering witty one-liners and making hilarious facial expressions.
One thing I really enjoyed about the play was the incorporation of slam poetry and spoken word poems. Characters would often directly address the audience and perform a slam poem about what was troubling their character at that moment in the play. Each act was separated by a poem from a different character. For example, Angelita delivered a spoken word monologue about how she is Latina, but more than just a sexual object. Even though the actors kept the audience laughing through the entire play, Platanos y Collard Greens still managed to discuss contemporary racial issues on a deeper level, captivating the audience while simultaneously providing food for thought.
Keep an eye out for further coverage of Platanos y Collard Greens in the 10/19 issue of the Promethean!
I hope everyone has had a great first week of classes and is getting into the swing of things! While the first week is a busy time for all of us, I hope you were able to make it to one of the two performances of Will Kempe’s Twelfth Night or What You Will this past weekend. If not, I will recap what you missed!
Long before the performances on Saturday and Sunday, the players hosted a workshop for all Siena students to participate in on Friday from 5pm-7pm. They offered workshops in clowning, stage combat, among other things.
On both Saturday and Sunday, the players came out to Roger Bacon from 2pm-4pm and performed as the audience sat on the steps. It was a really cool experience to watch the play in the outdoors just as Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed.
One thing I enjoyed about the play was that while they stayed as true to the original as possible, they also incorporated some fun additions to keep the audience entertained. One thing they added was a musical component. Before the play, the Jester came out and introduced the audience to what would be happening, things for us to know, etc. Then the rest of the cast joined him and they sang for us some of the songs they would be performing throughout the play. They encouraged us to sing along with them. At first the audience was a bit hesitant but by the end people enjoyed singing along.
Another thing that was really great about Twelfth Night was that there were multiple alumni who starred in the play. It was nice to see alumni back on campus and involved. The people involved in the play were very talented and clearly experienced. Not only were they excellent actors but they were all talented singers as well. The actors who played the Jester and Maria stole the show in my opinion.
I want to thank The Creative Arts Department’s Theatre Program for sponsoring this event. I also want to encourage others to go and see other performances this semester that are put on by Stage III and The Creative Arts department. Often you can get event credit for First Year Seminar or other classes you need event credit for. Either way they are a lot of fun to go to!
I hope you’re all doing well and that this dreary, rainy weather isn’t getting you down! If you’re in the Albany area this weekend and are looking for something fun to do, I HIGHLY recommend going to see “Votes for Women,” a performance put on by the Siena College Creative Arts Department detailing scenes from the Women’s Suffrage Movement. I was able to attend this past Friday night and I was SO impressed by the skills of everyone in the performance, including some familiar faculty faces. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into when I decided to attend the performance because the flyer indicated that we wouldn’t be sitting in the theater per usual, that we would be walking around the building. Our tickets contained a sticker on the back, each with a name and we were told that we were to follow the suffragist leader of that group. My ticket read “Votes for Women” and I had the chance to follow Harriot Stanton Blatch (played by the wonderful June Casey) though various scenes throughout the Women’s Suffrage Movement, including the trial of the one and only Susan B. Anthony. We literally walked all over Foy, including backstage, to reach these scenes and this is something that I have never done before!
I think the aspect of the performance that I was most impressed with was the historical accuracy that each cast member put into their characters. The words spoken throughout the show were original text and content from the time period and many of the cast members were required to memorize extensive monologues in language that is not quite as familiar to us these days. In particular, Sandra Boynton who plays Susan B. Anthony, delivered her lines in such a way that I truly felt as if I had been transported back to her time. I was able to clearly see the absurdity in the way women were treated back then and honestly felt incredibly inspired after hearing the words spoken just so well and so passionately.
Check out the flyer above for location and time details for this weekend’s performance and please try to attend if you can! If you did attend the performance here at Siena, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!