Homosexuality, hate crimes, the loss of a loved one and its effects, are some of the central themes of the play “The Door” by Paul Elliott, directed by third-year drama major, Lia Fakhouri.
The play is a single act play about Justin Alboi (played by Nickolas Powers, fourth-year drama major) trying to get his grandmother, Grace Standup (played by Cat Miranda, second-year drama major) to “open that door” and coax her into facing her fears and the truth of what happened on that fateful night that Justin went out.
“I love the way Paul Elliott tackles the topic and it is not ‘let me show you this hate crime’ but rather, ‘let me show you the effect of this hate crime on a loved one,’” Fakhouri said. “I feel that it is easier to relate to ‘I have lost a loved one’ rather than ‘there are LGBTQIA people who have hate crimes committed on them.’”
This particular production of “The Door” was done as an independent project with funding from UROP, under the guidance of UROP mentor Jane Page.
“My mentor, Jane Page, asked me to find a one-act and I came across this play and I really liked it,” Fakhouri said.
The play runs for about 30 minutes and it hit all the right notes and struck a chord with everyone in the audience. The turmoil and wreckage felt by Grace was showcased really well and was brought out in the play by Cat Miranda.
The play brings to light the hate crimes faced by the LGBTQIA community and how severe and in a sense even outrageous these crimes are. This play carries with it a social message for change and shows the audience the extent to which loved ones are affected by these hate crimes.
“I was taking this multi-cultural class where I was learning about using theatre as a means to convey and social message and that’s something I wanted to do,” Fakhouri said.
The play was put together with just one week of rehearsal time and turned out so well.
The lighting was just right and not overdone, the sound complemented the play and the set was designed in a way to give us the feeling that it was an old woman’s living room.
All the aspects of the play flowed effortlessly into one another and there was never a moment where the illusion was broken.
“I really like how Justin is not heavy handedly trying to throw politics or anything in the audience’s face. His sole concern was his grandmother, so I was drawn to [this play] being [a study of a] relationship between a grandmother and her grandson,” Powers said.
For Cat Miranda, the emotional connection when she read the script was what drew her to “The Door.”
“I really connected to this script on an emotional level and I really got attached to the character of Grace because she lost her grandson and she was standing up for the LGBTQIA community though she wasn’t a part of it,” said Miranda.
The play was very well done and indeed brought to light the effects and magnanimity of hate crimes against the LGBTQIA community.