By Maria Singh
“Spinning Into Butter,” a play written by Rebecca Gilman, made its premiere at Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday.
The play tells the story of an African American student who becomes a victim of a hate crime in a Northeastern community college.
With news of the hate crime traveling around campus, the school’s dean, administration and students are faced with coming to terms with how they perceive bias and racial identity, while trying to solve the mystery of the hate crime.
Students and faculty at the community college realize that a major step to help solve sensitive issues such as racism and bias is by taking an introspective approach, even if it means facing their own prejudices. Therefore, everyone is part of the problem but is also a part of the solution.
Michael Kachingwe, the director of “Spinning Into Butter,” helped put the play’s message into focus for the audience.
“This play deals with issues of race, ethnicity and political correctness. It deals with privilege: not only from a cultural perspective but also from an economic perspective,” said Kachingwe.. “The play deals with how we deal with privilege and how we deal with racism. Sometimes, it’s covert and sometimes it’s overt, and it’s really there.”
Kachingwe also talked about how “Spinning Into Butter” has relevance in today’s society because of some of the issues it deals with.
. “Because we talk about identifying and marginalizing certain groups and not typically allowing them to fit in, ” in the production of the play the administration takes that for granted. They don’t really focus on the student, but the numbers and what it looks like politically,” said Kachingwe.
When asked why he wanted to direct this play, Kachingwe said that it was a play that would challenge the beliefs of the actors, actresses and audiences.
“The message that the play reveals is to show that learning how to shed our own biases and our own sense of privilege is a lifelong process,” said Kachingwe.
Anthony Caudillo, a third-year theatre student who plays Greg Sullivan, talked about how his role in the play helps get the message across to the audience.
“[Greg Sullivan] represents the student demographic, which is predominantly white [and] upper-class. He hears what’s going on and decides he wants to take the initiative and start a ‘students for tolerance’ group to put on his resume to look good,” said Caudillo. “As the play progresses, you see him starting to want to not just put something on his resume but to actually make a difference.”
While portraying Greg Sullivan’s character, Caudillo said that even though he’s different from Sullivan, the play helped open his eyes to world issues and matters.
“This play opened my eyes because even if we’re not talking about it, [it] doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” said Caudillo. “We need to talk about it if we want to make any sort of progress,”
In addition, C. Julian White, chair of the Department of Theatre and New Dance and an actor in the play, gives a unique perspective on “Spinning Into Butter.”
“Issues of race, gender, age, size [and] sexual preference are all hot button issues, and all of us deal with that all the time,” said White. “I think every person that walks away from the play is going to have an opinion about the characters in the play, ” [the characters’] relationship to each other and race, and that’s the mission of the play.”
Even though “Spinning Into Butter” is simply a play, it works to bring attention to issues that are prevalent in modern society.
The main message of “Spinning Into Butter” is to simply look within, acknowledge that there is a problem and take the next step forward to help make the world a better place.
Zoran Liu-Moy / The Poly Post
‘Spinning Into Butter’
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