Picture life in a dystopian society where your identity is assigned like a license plate regardless of who you are or who you wish to be. Traveling actors found their way from Ontario, Oregon to Clackamas Community College to showcase their journey as four multicultural teenagers living in a world where individualism is prohibited.
“Bi”, written and directed by Georgina Escobar, seeks to educate the audience in the ways of perceiving people as more than what a first impression can supply. As explained by Sierra Brambila, one of the leads of the play as well as the one with the largest number of roles, people are like diamonds. When the light hits one, all of the various dimensions and colors of that diamond shine through allowing for the caster to acknowledge the entirety of the diamonds identity and not just one side. That very metaphor essentially encompasses the entirety of the message that this performance conveys so expertly and artistically.
The story transports the audience to the year 2089 where viewers are given an up close glance into the lives of four teenagers, Fig (Ajai Terrazas), Isa (Sierra Brambila), Noir (Justin Charles) and Hex (Kenyon Acton) These teenagers reside in an Orwellian society where walls restrict these residents from the rest of the world and every citizen carries a single identity, being labeled as either a sphere or a square. Identity bracelets are issued to an individual by the government once they come of age, and it’s from that point on that they are restricted to the single identity that is bestowed upon them by the government. Our four protagonists have had their whole lives to chew on this concept, and after much discussion they elect to escape confines of the walls and flee to a place where they can embrace who they truly are.
“Fig, his character can not identify as anything other than a square because he’s not allowed to,” said Terrazas, who doubles as a tour manager for him and the other three actors. “He’s in a society that only accepts one form of being. So he completely denied the other aspect of himself.”
The actors have performed this over twenty times so far, as they are currently touring the country putting on performances in various locales, and each time they are given the opportunity to convey a different message that confirms the good that they are doing by performing.
“We’re all likely going to have different answers and interpretations,” said Charles. “I would say that for my character, I find that Fig is willing to conform to this idea that we’ve been told in our society. But for Noir I feel that I would almost rather not exist because I have to be a square.”
The play features a bilingual cast, which only adds onto the power that this story wields. One might find his or her favorite character proclaiming his ideals to the audience in English one moment and in Spanish the next, which gives way to a whole new dynamic for the four protagonists. While on their journey they encounter numerous obstacles, most of them coming from within. The characters are prone to friction between themselves, as all of them are unsure if leaving the safety of the walls was a good idea. Though as the play progresses it becomes more and more evident that without this friction, they would be robbed of the opportunity to discover who they truly are while also sinking to the depths of lifeless normality.
Brambila said everytime she puts on this show, shes constantly checking in with her various characters.
“Because I need to know where they’re at in their journey of every point in the play,” she said. “And everytime that I check in with a different one I would say that I’ve learned a lot about their journey, who they are, what they bring to the play and what I personally need to bring to that character to help the audience out.”
“Bi” drives home the point that by restricting yourself to only one identity you could potentially be shutting off a part of your being that could prove useful to your betterment at some point in the future, and it relays this to the audience by offering an entertaining, humorous and at many times touching story about kids who just want to be themselves.
Life is meant for those who are willing to be the best them that they can be, and at some point or another we are all given the opportunity to be great. What defines you as person is how you choose to react to that opportunity, whenever it should arise.