Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Luz

The setup of this play was interesting. The background had stacks of boxes and a mess of papers. When asked why it was made this way, the playwright answered that it’s to symbolize the nasty actions made by people and the polluted environment we’re creating. On the left side were an assortment of file boxes. This setup took place for the whole play.

Even though the scenery never changed much, that never got into the way of my imagining what the environment of the play would look and sound like. Part of this is because of the skilled lighting. The file boxes were lit up during the formal meetings with the lawyer, Alexandra, and during the court case. In scenes taking place on the streets, the mess of papers in the background was lit up. the rest was left to my imagination, which compensated pretty well.

Going into the play, I was apprehensive that I wouldn’t understand the plot. Plays are usually not my preferred style of art to enjoy, and in the past I haven’t been able to follow them (The Tempest Opera proved me wrong, however). I was able to follow the first few scenes, where Oliver and a fellow businessman argue over the environmental harm caused by the firms Oliver represents. These early scenes also had my favorite actors of the play. Their argument was funny, and realistic. I could see one of the actors, Steven Rishard, being in a sitcom like Seinfeld or Friends. He fits the role perfectly. The other actors and actresses, with the exception of Julissa Roman, who played Luz, sometimes exaggerated their speech, and the emotion on their face and in their tone didn’t sound real.

The play is filled with symoblism, especially in puppet scenes. A vulture is often used to give Luz premonitions and guidance. A puppet haunts Oliver, perhaps as punishment for harming the environment and indirectly hurting the lives of Luz, Helene, and Zia. The voices of the characters echo during these scenes, and I wondered how this effect was made without microphones.

It was difficult for me to understand what was happening in the following scenes, although I understood the general theme of the play. It was meant to show an example of the hardship involving citizenship and violence faced by women. Acquiring citizenship is hard nowadays in America, especially when coupled with finding a job, supporting oneself, and handling emotional stress. The file boxes and papers in the set function to illustrate how everything is formalized with courts and legal papers nowadays. They almost look like litter, which functions well to show the slums of Guatemala City, tent cities in Haiti, and toxic, polluted neighborhoods. People aren’t given the chance to freely be heard, and receive fairness. This seen in court, when Luz snaps, and yells at the lawyer, “Look at me!” The play juxtaposes the easy life of businessmen, and how their actions affect the lives of other people without their knowing.

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