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The Dartmouth
April 16, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Blake, Shelton excel in 'Sacrificial Jones'

The Black Underground Theater captivated its audiences this weekend at the Bentley Theater in the Hopkins Center of Performing Arts with its presentation of a thought-provoking production entitled, "Sacrificial Jones."

The play, written by J.R. Riddick '95 and directed by the Best Actress in the 1992 Eleanor Frosts Plays, Marsha Blake '95, featured eight characters in a play that addressed spiritual genocide within the black Ivy League.

In two acts entitled "The Epiphany" and "Armageddon," the near capacity-filled crowd was treated to an abstract yet very vivid production which hit close to home: How much are Dartmouth students willing to change themselves and their identity in order to assmilate to the status quo?

The play centered around a group of semi-anonymous Dartmouth students who come to the College with their different and varied backgrounds.

The most notable characters include Iminga, played by seasoned actor Lisana Gabriel '96, who has traveled to Dartmouth all the way from "intergration-land Colorado."

A sociology major, Iminga presents herself to the audience as a person who is complacent about losing her identity. She strives for success and if that means "selling-out" her identity for the advancement of that self, she is very willing to do it. She has a chance to slightly re-invent herself at college.

Ashantay, played by Shani O'Neal, a transfer student from Spelman College, is a naive freshman from the inner city who is just learning the ropes of the College and is troubled by what she has had to sacrifice in order to be like everyone else. She learns that that urban side of her has been slowly lost.

Last, Sassina Jackson is a photogenic sophmore whose past is less than glamorous. Sassina, played by Mia Shelton '98, was the break-through performance of the production. Shelton played the "sassy" Sassina with marvelous aplomb and the character provided humor to a very serious topic. Able to smile and strut on cue, Sassina was dubbed "Miss Black Ivy League."

The play, which featured a Pulp Fictionesque ending and beginning, challenged the audience to decide whether the eight student characters leave the College with better or worse experiences than when they arrived.

The play ends with the death of Calane Jones, played by Scott Ennover '98, who has come to terms with who he is. He is killed by Tangiers, played by Christian Felix '99, who throughout the play calls for the extermination of black undesirables or those he feels that do not support the "cause."