DIVISION: The Trayvon/Jordan Project

DIVISION: The Trayvon/Jordan Project

DIVISION: The Trayvon/Jordan Project
By John DiDonna in collaboration
Directed by John DiDonna
Valencia College Theater
Orlando, FL

This weekend we get to see both ends of the Black Experience in modern America. Over at Seminole College August Wilson’s “Radio Golf” looks at success, while here we look at death. “Division” explores opinions on the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. Both men died at the hands of civilians, and both murders caught the public eye due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law. Over the past months John DiDonna and his students, friends and collaborators have interviewed over 100 people, some directly related to the victims and others just people with opinions. The interviews were sifted down to an hour or so of statements, some read with vigor and determination, some hesitant. Together they paint a view of race relations today, and while this project was set in Florida I suspect what was said here could have come from anywhere in the United States.

The project lists 10 co-writers, mostly students, and is voiced by 15 actors including local veterans Avis-Marie Barnes and Dean Walkuski. Similar to “The Laramie Project”, this production does not spend much time on the events, but focuses on community response and self-reflection. Some voices come from the media and explore the tension of “facts, just the facts” vs. “If it bleeds it leads.” Without media attention deaths like these fade, but with 24 / 7 coverage it becomes difficult to process justice. Other facets include segregation, some self-imposed and some relic of the past. “I didn’t know there was a such a thing as white people growing up” and “If it was only about money, poor blacks and poor whites would live together” both carry elements of truth. Racial identity flashed as well; it was pointed out several times “George Zimmerman (the shooter) wasn’t white, he was Hispanic!” It’s a fine point; no one really wants blame via skin tone although it’s common enough. Black Twitter was mentioned as faster communication than any other media; and the question “do whites think everything is about guns and camo?” arises. Ironically, it’s the camo that makes them stand out. As the show wound down, the Talk Back Session began, but my take away from the evenings’ efforts was the line: “Why can’t we all just get along?” I’m not sure why not, but I do know this: We can’t. No matter how well intentioned we all are.

For more information on Valencia College Theatre, please visit valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/”>”>valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/”> valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

From the Archives