Clarabel Smith ’20
On Thursday, April 25, in Seelos Theatre, Uni2Act performed their original play, Cierren Los Ojos (or Close Your Eyes). Uni2Act, Holy Cross’ bilingual theatre troupe, was inspired to create the play by the No Evil project, a nonprofit that seeks to erase bias through its photography project displaying personal facts and good deeds, instead of superficial labels, beside portraits.
Troupe member Maressa Park, ‘22, explained the movement by saying, “The No Evil Project seeks to show that differences are a good thing—that through labeling ourselves and sharing one of our good deeds, we can show the world that anyone is capable of doing good. I think the project seeks to put stereotypes and prejudice to rest, and it follows that quote by Mary Lou Kownacki, ‘There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.’”
The play was also inspired by the current events on campus, and was based off of the actual experiences of the members who wrote and performed it. Park described the play as “the brainchild of the troupe,” saying, “it is a combined story that we hope the audience recognized as realistic—because it was based on microaggressions and situations that each of us has observed or experienced.”
Honesty and authenticity did show through in every aspect of the performance, from one-liners to monologues, and made for a moving and sometimes surprisingly funny or optimistic performance. The play was unafraid to address not only highly debated problems on campus, like sexual assault and harassment, but those that have largely been ignored or dismissed. For example, the play featured a poem on the rise of global anti-semitism and the increase of hateful vandalism on our own campus, especially swastikas. One of the most powerful monologues was on the dismissal and frustration experienced by Latina and first-generation students, performed by Gillary Garcia ‘20.
Senior Katie Santoro also performed a monologue on the anger of women who know sexual assault or harassment survivors and the insufficiency of the words, “me too.” Santoro was honored by director and troupe leader Prof. Ellen Lokos for her incredible leadership and accomplishment in the group, an award Lokos hopes will inspire her as she goes on to the Peace Corps after graduation.
Finally, an original song also titled “Close Your Eyes,” composed by senior Teresa Murphy, was performed by all members of the troupe and by Holy Cross musicians in a final moment of joy and unity.
To those who weren’t able to see the play, or to those who did and were unsure of how to put its message into practice, Park had this to say: “Speak up when you witness injustice—don’t close your eyes to it. Be more cognizant of your judgments of others. And like Alba, the peer mentor in the play, says—’Control the labels that define you and give power to those labels.’”