I had no idea what I was getting into when I started to work on straight on til moUrning. Tori [Bertocci] and I met a month after last year’s Fringe festival had ended and we thought “what next?” We were really happy with what we produced last summer and wanted to make another great impact on our community.
We started throwing out ideas and themes and concepts and finally decided on dissecting Peter Pan and its ideas on lost children and run-away youth. Done. We spent the next few weeks forming our ideas; I made character concepts and a list of possible movement pieces—even had a completed storyboard! Until one day everything changed.
Tori called me on the phone and said there’s been a change of plans. There had been a lot of press on Michael Brown and Ferguson going on in the media, and then even more press on other shootings and hate crimes. It reflected an under-discussed America: we live in a country where there is an ingrained disposition to the color of ones skin, and despite “how far we’ve come” we really have the farthest of ways to still go. Our show took a new shape and evolved into confronting this idea of racial segregation, police brutality, and white privilege. We have a responsibility to show our community what life is like for POC and the minority agenda.
With each day that passes, I think that this show is more and more relevant. Every day new stories are coming out about the issue on race in America. Black churches being burned down. Mass shootings. Riots and revolts. It’s sickening to me that such injustice and hatred is spread throughout our country consistently, but it gives me hope. I know that there are people out there who want change. I know it is possible to change. And I think this show is a great way to start that change.
What’s great about straight on til moUrning is that it’s non-intrusive. Peter Pan is the perfect lens to use because it is a fairytale (and one that most people know). We invite the audience through play, magic, and movement to see insight on these beloved characters’ lives, ones that we have grown up with. The show does a great job at slowly building intensity and becoming more realistic, so that, by the end, the audience is fully invested. We knew that this topic was really hard for people to talk about, and so we didn’t want to turn people off or push them away right from the beginning. It’s a beautifully devised piece that gives you everything a show should: a laugh, a cry, and a thought.
And that is what our company, relEASE physical theatre, is based on: to explore the human condition. It came from the desire to create and share stories that must be told and connect in some way with each person that we encounter. After the show is over, we want to spark discussion. We want people to stop us out in the tent and talk about what race means to them. Why we are right or why we are wrong. What was spot-on and what missed the mark. More importantly, aside from talking to us, we want people to talk to each other. They should leave thinking about how they grew up and who they are now and where they fit within segregated America. They should leave learning that everyone has a position, a voice, and a way to change.
And I know this show can do that. I know I have grown and changed and accepted who I am as a person and have started to realize how I can support a better future. One of the hardest things in this show is talking about race. Because racism does in fact exist, and there are certain privileges and disadvantages we experience because of our skin color. And that’s hard to admit because we don’t want that to be a thing. But it is something we need to accept in order to change. The first rehearsals were so hard to hear about mishaps and challenges growing up colored in America, not even realizing certain implications even existed because they were so far away from my white bubble of life. And I am so grateful for going through that discomfort. That was the impetus for change. Knowledge.
To be honest, I don’t know if this show does enough; 65 minutes is not a lot of time to deconstruct racial and justice matters in America. However, I have faith that our show can start a conversation and trust in my team to do the show justice. We are a group of intelligent and caring human beings who took a risk and I am so proud of us all. This show wouldn’t be what it is without the hard work of everyone involved, and if anything, we made a show! And for me, that is enough.
Faith and trust. That’s all you really need. Maybe the occasional pixie dust.
July 9 — Aug 2, 2015
straight on til moUrning
at the Logan Fringe Arts Space
starting July 9
Capital Fringe 2015
1358-60 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
and other locations
Fringe details and Tickets
Pasquale Guiducci is a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director/Choreographer for relEASE Theatre Company. He is from New Jersey and came to Washington DC to study musical theater at American University. He graduated in 2013 with his Bachelor’s in musical theatre and has been performing in numerous venues throughout the city since then including Synetic Theater, Adventure Theatre, Kennedy Center WNO, and Discovery Theatre. With this passion for physical theater, he was ecstatic to begin this journey of starting a new company with other co-founder Tori Bertocci. He can’t imagine not performing for people; he has been on stage his whole life. Aside from performing, he also enjoys working in the field of education, but does not have a schedule that allows for teaching. However, he finds ways to incorporate educational theater in his schedule. He has done workshops in schools through the DMV area and also performs with the Smithsonian’s Tools of Discovery program. He also has a deep-seated love for fitness. He has his group fitness certification and will begin a 200 hour yoga teaching program this fall.