By Crystal Milner
BU News Service
“(The) Boston police force just added another name to the list,” Associate Artistic Director and Co-founder of Company One Theatre, Summer Willams said, referring to Terrence Coleman. Thirty-one-year-old Coleman was shot and killed by police last Sunday after his mother called an ambulance for assistance, according to officials. Coleman was mentally ill and had been sitting on the stoop of their South End apartment for most of the previous two days Coleman’s mother tells the Boston Globe. She was worried he would catch pneumonia.
“The Every 28 Hours Plays” are 80 one-minute individual plays that create one cohesive message, each play referring to the disputed notion that every 28 hours in the US, a man, woman or child who identifies as Black is murdered at the hands of a vigilante, security guard or police officer.
The performance was hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with Company One Theatre and in collaboration with Boston Arts Academy, Central Square Theater, Harvard University’s Black Cast and The Theater Offensive.
Minute after minute scenes of oppression were reenacted before the audience’s eyes.
“Your son will never be a hashtag,” one black mother says to another white mother. “I don’t feel safe being black anymore,” a black student tells her friend. “Your privilege is that you can ignore it,” one black man says to a white man. “Dismissing the problem is part of the problem,” one black protestor tells a white protestor who is holding an “All Lives Matter” poster.
The production was as diverse as the cast. “We wanted to showcase the many facets of blackness,” said Black Cast actor and Harvard sophomore Nicholas Whittaker. Issues plaguing the Black community were not the only ones brought to the stage tonight. “I have two seconds, if I’m lucky to make a life or death decision,” a police officer yells across the stage. The piece was an opportunity to open viewer’s eyes to a glimpse of what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Abby Wolf of Boston said, “The play was powerful. I am absorbing a lot.”
By the end, Williams accomplished what she set out to do, allowing community members, “To sit in a room you can’t escape, no matter how uncomfortable and deal with these difficult issues.”