Play Review: Tried by Twelve or Carried by Six

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Bria Hilliard

Asst. Features Editor

Written by students in the theater 300 class, Tried by Twelve or Carried by Six, attempts to tell the stories of police brutality. The play was impactful in the sense that real-life issues were being brought to the stage for the entire campus to witness and discuss. There was a wide range of characters in the play such as police officers, innocentbystanders,innocent victims and the occasional not-so innocent victim. While the play addresses recent cases of police brutality in the Unites States, it also brought to light the everyday race involved situations that people experience. Tried by Twelve or Carried by Six took the actual stories of police officers as well as African American men and women, and told them in a way that was either a hit or miss with the audience.

The play began with an introduction to the real -life issues firefighters have to face when dealing with crimes in African American communities. These police officers address a time where members of the community sliced their water hose in rage as the firefighters were trying to put out a fire. They expressed their outrage with how members of African American communities expressedtheirangeragainst authorities at the wrong time when some of them are just trying to do their job.

That skit led into a scene based on the Ferguson riots, which stemmed from the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in early August 2014. A scene depicted members of the community cleaning up what was destroyed by protesters and speaking their mind on the subject matter. It was mentioned numerous times in this scene that members of this African American community were not benefiting society by destroying their communities and were only making matters worse. The fact that local businesses were now gone, leaving people unemployed or elderly people without their medication, was well explained in this scene, but what about the story behind the riots?

“This play was suppose to show people both points of view and also enlighten them on the issues that are going on outside of their own lives,” Catalina Metellus, who played Andrea and Rhonda in the show, said. “I feel like this show did not make an impact on campus because the students here were too busy worried about partying instead of taking one day off to come see it, only a few students came only because it was for a grade so I don’t think they even bothered to pay attention.”

While this play did a great job of introducing the race issues faced in society today, it did a poor job in telling why things have come to be the way they are. There was little defense of why African American were being wrongfully shot and killed by police officers in African American neighborhoods

where racial profiling is an everyday occurrence. A great portion of the play cast light on the stories of the White police officers in these situations and the split second judgments they have to make. Police officers were the main stars of the play, whereas these officers spoke of the trauma they face after having altercations in African American communities or spoke of how at times; African American communities make it hard for them to do their job.

“It was a bit bias because everything was given from the perspective of white police officers,” Tyra Branch said. “If they wanted the play to be more realistic they should have had more African American students in the play, and maybe the perspectives of black cops as oppose to only white cops.”

Tried by Twelve or Carried by Six touched on a large spectrum of issues such as protests, racial profiling, and the issues police officers face when on the job. A great point madeduringtheplaywasthat not all police officers are bad people, but there are some who fall short of that. This play does a great job of introducing this topic to the Utica College community but falls short of thoroughly discussing these topics on stage. While it is a tough issue to tackle, it is important to give the full view of each side of the spectrum and not the majority of one side. What about those who werecarriedbysixbutdidnot have the opportunity to be tried by twelve?

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